Mumbai fishermen find giant whale shark in net, probe ordered

Prime News, Nation,  (Mumbai), August 13:-A fishing trawler in the Arabian Sea, around 40-50 km off Colaba, netted a big and unexpected catch late on Tuesday night – a giant whale shark found to weigh over 2,000 kg, officials said on Wednesday.
The giant dotted whale shark got entangled in the fishing nets and desperately struggled to set itself free, but failed, said one of the fishermen on board the vessel.
Owing to darkness and inclement weather conditions, the fishing trawler decided to sail back to Mumbai, dragging the creature in the nets behind it, and reached here early on Wednesday.

They left the fish along with the net near the 145-year-old Sassoon Docks in Colaba and sailed back into the sea, said Damodar Tandel, President of Akhil Bharatiya Machhimar Kriti Samiti.

Later, a crane was deployed to hoist up the massive fish that was around 8 metres (over 26 feet) long, and weighed more than two tonnes.

On Wednesday morning, Sassoon Dock fishers informed the police about the presence of the whale shark, forest officers said. “The fishermen who caught the protected species left it at the dock and fled, but as we were reaching the site for further investigation, a trader cut up the 20-foot marine animal into pieces, and intended to sell it,” said Suresh Warak, range forest officer (mangrove cell).

“By the time we reached the site, the trader had fled, but we managed to detain the buyer, Jan Bahadur Yadav, 50, and tempo driver, Sham Rajaram Dhar, 35, under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Based on their statements, arrests will be made and they will be presented before a district court on Thursday,” said Warak.
Warak said a punchnama had been filed. “Interrogations are underway to identify the trader responsible for desecrating the shark, and further course of action will be taken including arrests for offences under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972,” he said.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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