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Thanh Hoa Fishermen Unknowingly Butcher Carcass of Endangered Whale Shark

On May 5, a fishing vessel arrived at a port in Sam Son City, Thanh Hoa Province with a carcass of a gigantic fish weighing almost a ton. That afternoon, the fishermen butchered the fish.

According to Thanh Nien, a video of the incident has since surfaced online and sparked outrage among many who insisted that the fish in the video is a whale shark, an endangered species.

The fishing of whale sharks is only allowed for scientific research and preservation purposes, hence killing and butchering the fish is illegal. However, the fishermen seemed to have mistaken the whale shark for another type of fish.

According to an earlier report of the incident on Tuoi Tre, Nguyen Duc Cuong, director of Thanh Hoa Aqua Exploiting and Protection Department shared that the butchered fish in the video isn’t an endangered whale shark.

However, on May 14, Directorate of Fisheries sent a document to Thanh Hoa's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to correct this information, confirming that the unfortunate creature was indeed an endangered whale shark (Rhincodon typus). The species belongs to Group 1 of Vietnam's endangered marine animals. The most famous whale shark in the world is perhaps Finding Dory's visually challenged Destiny.

"The boat owner told us that the shark was trapped in his nets while he was fishing. The shark was already dead when he pulled it up. The fishermen butchered the fish without knowing that the fish is an endangered whale shark," said Tran Hoc Dinh, chairman of Quang Tien People's Committee.

In response to the document sent by the Directorate of Fisheries, Nguyen Duc Cuong said that his department will work with local authorities to identify the people involved. The province will also strive to inform fishermen about endangered species so that such mishaps won't occur in the future.

[Photo via NewScientist]


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