A juvenile whale shark of about 7.5 feet long got entangled in fishing net 2 kilometers north of Churna Island in Balochistan was rescued and released into the sea, protected under Sindh and Balochistan laws.
“The net laid for catching tuna comes out with shark entangled. At first, the crew tried to disentangle it inside the water but failed then pull it up on the board and released into the sea,” said Mohammad Moazzam Khan of the World-Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P), mentioning the rescue boat captain, Ali Akbar.
Since the start of the WWF-P Observer Programme in 2012, 61 cases of rescuing whale sharks reported according to him. He also pointed out that they seldom survive or die during rescue. He said sharks were prone to recurrent entanglement in fishing net apart from habitat degradation and marine pollution.
“Some fishermen kill sharks for liver oil to use it to polish their boats that make it smooth and free of fouling animals,” he lamented.
Churna is small and unpopulated island situated between Sindh and Balochistan provinces, is an important basking, feeding and breeding area for the fish species. The name ‘whale shark’ itself refers to size as large as whale and feeder like baleen whales.
In two 2008 reported 2 newborn sharks at Balochistan coast have confirmed it to be the breeding site for whale sharks. The island is under government consideration of the status of a marine protected area.
The species are endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red database and contained within in Appendix-II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.