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Whale shark caught at Sassoon Dock in Colaba; state authority to book offenders

An enormous whale shark was caught illegally by a fishing trawler and brought to Sassoon Dock in Colaba, on Wednesday, August 12.

Whale shark caught at Sassoon Dock in Colaba; state authority to book offenders
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An enormous whale shark was caught illegally by a fishing trawler and brought to Sassoon Dock in Colaba, on Wednesday, August 12. Sharks in India are protected under schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA). The matter of this whale shark is being investigated by the state fisheries department and the state-run Mangrove cell.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, the Maharashtra fisheries department authorities stated that they are in the process of filing a first information report (FIR) against the unidentified individuals for committing the abovementioned offence.

Atul Patne, the commissioner of the state fisheries department, stated that when the licencing officers reached the spot and the fishermen who caught the shark had left it at the dock and fled. However, he assured that the offenders will be booked as an investigation is underway.

According to sources, the shark’s carcass had begun decomposing by the time the officers reached the spot. It is said to be approximately 25 feet long.

This incident comes a week after the fisheries had begun an investigation with regards to 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.

Continual and significant unregulated fishing impacts legitimate commercial fishers as well as fish populations. It often causes grave environmental damage, especially when things such as driftnets, that catches non-target species (like sharks, turtles or dolphins) or physically damages or destroys reefs, seamounts and other vulnerable marine ecosystems.

Besides whale sharks, tiger sharks, white sharks, and spear tooth sharks and other elasmobranch species such as hammerhead sharks, pointed sawfish, large tooth sawfish, long comb sawfish, and guitarfish are also protected under the WPA, 1972


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