Pakistani fishermen save young whale shark

This video from India is called Whale Sharks – Reef Life of the Andaman – Part 3.

From Wildlife Extra:

Fishermen successfully release Whale shark from net off Pakistan

WWF training proves worthwhile

May 2013: Fishermen in Sonmiani Bay, near Karachi in Pakistan, have successfully released a juvenile whale shark that had become caught in their fishing nets after a considerable struggle.

A local fishing boat snagged a 3.5 m Whale shark in their nets, but, fortunately, the captain of the vessel, Muhammad Ismail, is one of the fishermen that has been trained by WWF-Pakistan to release any endangered animals that become trapped in their net. It took more than an hour to get this struggling animal free from the net without harming it.

Fishermen used to kill whale sharks for their liver oil, which was used for smearing hulls of fishing boats. In February 2013 fishermen killed a large female Whale shark and brought its carcass into Karachi Fish Harbour which created a media storm. Whale sharks are included in CITES Appendix-II putting them under strict regulatory control.

Whale sharks off Pakistan

Whale sharks are occasionally reported from the area but the status of the population is not known. They can be seen along coastal offshore waters of Pakistan as the area is thought to be an important feeding and breeding area.

Protection is important

Mr. Rab Nawaz, Director WWF-Pakistan stressed the need for protection of this species in Pakistan because their population is seriously dwindling. There is no natural predator of this largest known fish but these are killed by entangling in fishing gear. In order to protect this fish, WWF-Pakistan is persuading the provincial wildlife departments of Sindh and Balochistan to include Whale sharks in Appendix-I of the respective wildlife acts so that these gentle giants may be given the status of a protected animal. He further pointed out that since Wildlife Acts in both Maritime Provinces are being redrafted, therefore, it is the right time for Whale sharks to be included in them as protected species.

Mr. Muhammad Moazzam Khan, Technical Advisor (Marine Fisheries) WWF-Pakistan pointed out that there used to a substantially large commercial and recreational fishery for whale sharks along the coast of Pakistan in Pre-Partition Period, however, it stopped in 1960’s. Fishermen still kill these animals for their liver and even meat (used for production of fish meal for poultry); however, WWF-Pakistan has involved all major stakeholders in creating awareness among fishermen not to kill these animals. He lauded the role of captain and crew of the vessels for their efforts in releasing the juvenile.

Just a week earlier, fishermen off the coast of Gujurat, just down the coast from Karachi, released a baby Whale shark from their nets.

September 2013. Plans to create an artificial marine enclosure off the southern coast of Kenya and stock it with wild-caught specimens of the world’s largest fish – the whale shark – as a tourism attraction have been comprehensively rejected by the government of Kenya: here.

Chinese fisherman drives world’s largest (and endangered) fish to market – only to be turned away. Extraordinary images show fishing captain’s futile efforts to illegally sell protected whale shark: here.

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