This better be the last of it

Injured whale shark dies on Malaysia Shore : Associated Press : 3 Jan 2009

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: A rare 23-foot-long (7-meter-long) whale shark got entangled in a fishing net off Malaysia’s northwest coast and was towed to shore but died due to injuries, local media reported Saturday.

Fisherman Key Chai Yang told the New Straits Times newspaper that it took two hours to tow the two-ton shark, known as a Rhincodon Typus, to land after it got entangled in his fishing net early Friday.

He said the shark was still alive when it reached shore in northern Penang state in Malaysia’s northwest, but it died shortly after from the multiple cuts it suffered from the propeller blades under his boat.

“I have never seen such a gigantic shark in my 30 years as a fisherman,” Key was quoted as saying.

A huge crowd turned up to see the carcass of the shark, which was later sent to the state fisheries department, the report said.

Fishery officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Rhincodon Typus, the largest fish in the world, can be found in warm tropical seas. The leviathan, which has distinctive white spots over its dark gray body, can grow as long as of 65 feet (20 meters) and live up to 70 years.

Photo from the New Straits Times

Malaysian fishermen face fine over shark catch : Associated Press : 4 Jan 2009

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Four Malaysian fishermen could be fined for not releasing a protected 23-foot-long (7-meter-long) whale shark they caught by accident, local media reported Sunday.

They towed the 2.2 ton (2 metric ton) juvenile whale shark, known as a Rhincodon Typus, to shore after it got entangled Friday in their nets off the coast of northern Penang state.

It died shortly after from the multiple cuts it suffered from the propeller blades.

Penang Fisheries Department director Mohamad Najib Ramli told the Sunday Star newspaper the four men should have immediately released the shark since it was a protected species.

They questioned the fishermen and sent their statements to the department’s legal unit for further action, he said.

Ramli didn’t say how much they could be fined and fisheries officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

One of the fishermen, Key Chai Yang, told the New Straits Times newspaper the shark was still alive when it reached shore but it succumbed shortly after to its injuries.

The Rhincodon Typus, the largest fish in the world, can be found in warm tropical seas. The leviathan, which has distinctive white spots over its dark gray body, can grow as long as 65 feet (20 meters) and live up to 70 years.

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There is clearly still a lot to be done with regards to educating the general population about the endangered marine species present in our oceans.

One rule of thumb though , if you’ve never seen it before , it’s huge and odd looking, chances are it’s rare , don’t mess around with it. Sheesh.

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