A fisherman in Xiangzhi, Fujian province captured a 4.5-meter-long, two-ton whale shark that died soon after its struggle to escape this past Friday, News 163 says.
The fisherman, Cai Chengzhu, said that as he and his colleagues began to pull their net out from the water, they spotted a huge hole formed by the “giant fish”.
“It’s believed that the giant creature broke the net and got inside to eat the fish we caught,” he said.
The fishery department identified it as a whale shark, a second-class national protected animal. Regulation states that whale sharks should be set free right away if caught by fishermen.
Cai transported the whale shark to land with a tractor. He reportedly planned to sell it for 10,000 to 20,000 yuan before he knew what the creature was.
It’s illegal to purchase or sell whale sharks, the largest known extant fish species.
The creatures can live as long as 70 years to 100 years. Based on biologists’ records, the largest whale shark ever discovered was 12.65 meters long and 21.5 tons.
By Lucy Liu
[Images via News 163 ]