Endangered 20ft long whale shark captured at Thatta – Pakistan
THATTA: A 20-foot-long whale shark, listed as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List, was accidentally trapped in a gillnet set by local fishermen in the offshore waters off Khobar Creek and brought ashore for sale.
The fishermen told reporters that they tried to untangle the giant fish, but failed and then brought it to their village, Jhangi Sar, tying it to the edge of the boat. Since it was a public holiday that day, they could not sell it at the market and the fish was still in their possession, they said.
The whale shark is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. It is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and is proposed for inclusion in Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species to wildlife. It is also covered by other international instruments, notably the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, of which Pakistan is a member.
In Sindh and Balochistan, the capture, landing and marketing of whale shark has been prohibited since 2016, under the respective fishing legislation.
WWF-Pakistan runs a crewed observer program for the conservation of this gentle giant, which has been found in coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan, with major hot spots at Ghora Bari, Khobar Creek, Khajjar Creek, Cape Monze, Churna Island, Malan-Sapat, Gwadar and Gunz.
As part of this program, WWF-P trained around 100 fishermen in 2012 to release whale sharks after they got tangled in gillnets and since then a total of 121 whale sharks have been released to safety. by trained fishermen, WWF-P officials said.
Moazzam Khan, WWF-P technical advisor, stressed the need for proactive action in this regard by the Fisheries Department so that fishermen cannot catch this endangered species in the first place.
Posted in Dawn, June 1, 2021