One-tonne whale shark found trapped in fishing net

MALACCA: A whale shark (rhincodon typus) weighing about one tonne was found trapped in a drift net belonging to a fisherman known as Mahat, 51, near the mouth of the Duyong River here today.

State Fisheries Department director Mohd Ghazali A. Manap said the 20-feet-long endangered species was dragged ashore about 11am.

"The fisherman then brought back the fish to the river mouth as it was hard to release it in the rough sea before reporting the find to the Fisheries Department.

"The whale can be found in our waters and maybe it got caught in the net while looking for shrimps, which are plentiful in the area," he said when contacted by Bernama here.

He said an officer, who was rushed to the scene, found that the mammal suffered minor tail injuries and was barely alive.

Mohd Ghazali said the whale shark, which is listed as protected species under the Fisheries Act 1985, was then released near Pulau Undan, about one nautical mile from the mouth of the river at 12.15pm with the help of policemen and fishermen.

He said the action of the fisherman was commendable as it could help save endangered wildlife like the whale shark.

"We hope that other fishermen will take similar action by reporting to the Fisheries Department if they catch any endangered species," he said. — Bernama