Whale shark caught by fishing trawler at Sassoon Dock, state authorities to book offenders
Whale sharks are a protected species under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972, and also listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).Updated: Aug 12, 2020 14:23 IST
A large whale shark was illegally caught by a fishing trawler and brought to Sassoon Dock in Colaba, south Mumbai, dead on Wednesday morning.
Whale sharks are a protected species under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972, and also listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Maharashtra fisheries department authorities said they were in the process of filing a first information report (FIR) against unidentified persons for the offence in a bid to initiate a probe in the matter.
“Our licencing officers have reached the spot. It appears that the fishermen, who had caught the protected species, left it at the dock and fled. Offenders will be booked and an investigation is underway,” said Atul Patne, commissioner, state fisheries department.
Suresh Warak, range forest officer (mangrove cell), said the shark’s carcass had begun decomposing.
“We are measuring its length, but it’s approximately 25 feet long. We are also in the process of booking the offenders,” he said.
The capture comes eight days after the Maharashtra fisheries department had initiated an investigation and called for action regarding unauthorised fishing practices that are affecting rare and endangered marine species along the state’s coastline.
The probe was ordered based on a report by marine biologists from the Mangrove Foundation, under the mangrove cell of the state forest department, which had documented unsustainable fishing practices, excessive juvenile bycatch and illegal shark fin trade.
Such rampant fishing practices are leading to a rapid decline of threatened, vulnerable, and critically endangered sharks and allied species, the report had pointed out.
Besides whale sharks tiger sharks, white sharks, and speartooth sharks; other elasmobranch species such as hammerhead sharks, pointed sawfish, largetooth sawfish, longcomb sawfish, and guitarfish are also protected under the WPA, 1972.