04 January 2009

Malaysian fishermen who caught whale shark may be fined

Deep-sea fishermen should immediately release endangered or protected marine wildlife that got entangled in their nets.

The whale shark that was towed back by a Malaysian fisherman and died was buried yesterday – minus its fins and part of its tail which would be sent to the Turtle and Marine Ecosystem Centre (Tumec) in Terengganu for research. “In about one month, we will take out the whale shark’s bones and send them to Tumec where they will be put on exhibition.”

Fishermen who caught whale shark may be fined
The Star 4 Jan 09;
GEORGE TOWN: The four fishermen who caught a juvenile whale shark by accident on New Year’s Day may be fined – the fish is an endangered and protected species.

Penang Fisheries Department director Mohd Najib Ramli said statements had taken from the four and forwarded to the department’s legal unit in Putrajaya for further action.

“It is up to the unit. They may be compounded for catching the fish,” he said.

Mohd Najib said deep-sea fishermen should immediately release endangered or protected marine wildlife that got entangled in their nets.

He said fishermen should be alert and ready to act quickly to release such wildlife.

“They should not leave it in the net.

“If the fish or animal had died while in the net, the Fisheries Department must be notified,” he said in an interview.

On Friday, the shark was caught in fishermen’s trawl nets 10 nautical miles off Teluk Ba- hang.

The 7m-long fish got entangled in the nets at 3am. The four fishermen later returned to shore in Teluk Bahang, with the fish, at 5.30am.

The two-tonne whale shark was surrendered to the state Fisheries Department and hauled to the tuna landing port in Batu Maung by fishing boats on Friday evening.

It was transported to the Fisheries Research Institute (FRI), where it was buried at 3.20pm yesterday – minus its fins and part of its tail.

Najib said the parts cut off would be sent to the Turtle and Marine Ecosystem Centre (Tumec) in Terengganu for research.

“In about one month, we will take out the whale shark’s bones and send them to Tumec where they will be put on exhibition,” he said.

The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a filter-feeding shark known for its playful character.

It is the largest living fish that poses no harm to humans.


Four whale shark fishermen could escape with warning
The Star 6 Jan 09;
GEORGE TOWN: The four fishermen who caught a juvenile whale shark by accident on Jan 1 might only be given a warning if their claims that they had no intention of catching the endangered fish are true.

Penang Fisheries Department director Mohd Najib Ramli said the department’s legal adviser would investigate the fishermen’s claims before determining the next course of action.

“It would normally take about three days for the compound directive from the headquarters but not in this case as this is a bit more complicated.

“We must make sure the whale shark was not caught intentionally,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Citing an example of a similar case a few months ago, Mohd Najib said the fishermen were let off with a warning after the legal officer found that the catch had been unintentional.

Mohd Najib also said fines imposed by the department varied but would not exceed a maximum of RM30,000.

Fisherman Keh Chai Yang, when contacted, said it would be unfair to them if they are fined because they were not aware that the whale shark had become entangled in the net.

“It was only when we tried to pull up the net that we saw the fish but it was already dead. If we were to leave it in the sea, the carcass would surely pollute the water.”

Keh said they were already bearing the cost of repair for the net which was damaged when pulling the two-tonne whale shark up to the shore.

“Some of our fishing equipment was also damaged,” he said, adding that he hoped the authorities would be fair to them.

The 7m-long fish was caught in the fishermen’s net about 10 nautical miles off the Teluk Bahang coast.

No comments:

Post a Comment

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails