Thursday, February 20, 2014

Whale sharks in wholesale (and retail) trouble

The most magnificent fish in the oceans is, bar none, the whale shark.  Only the sperm whale and the largest of the rorquals are bigger.  They can exceed 15m in length, and claims over 20m have been made.  They are global in distribution, and we're still learning about their migration and reproductive habits.  They are protected on CITES Appendix II, and many nations have taken action to establish protected areas, ban trade in their fins, and otherwise try to keep the whale shark off Appendix I. 

China, however,  has not gotten the memo, and doesn't seem to want to.  While Chinese authorities state that illegal fishing of whale sharks can bring a jail sentence, this factory seems to operate with impunity.  I don't know what the answer is, but there has to be one, and publicizing this crime is Step 1.
Whale sharks are harmless filter-feeders (image NMFS)



omegaman66 said...

The picture appears to be of a Basking shark not a whale shark.

Matt Bille said...

You're right, and that's an idiotic mistake for me (and the person who labeled the photo in the NMFS database) to make! Sorry.