A protected species - alive or dead

Locals gathering around the carcass of a dead whale shark, which was caught by fishermen in the sea off Surabaya, on the eastern part of Indonesia's Java Island, on Monday. The giant fish, measuring 7m long and weighing two tonnes, was originally pla
PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Locals gathering around the carcass of a dead whale shark, which was caught by fishermen in the sea off Surabaya, on the eastern part of Indonesia's Java Island, on Monday. The giant fish, measuring 7m long and weighing two tonnes, was originally planned to be cut up by fishermen and sold for meat, but officials from local fishery agencies negotiated with villagers to bury it. Indonesia in 2013 had declared the whale shark a protected species, including it in the International Union for Conservation of Nature's red list of threatened species. Despite their mammoth size, these docile sharks, the largest fish in the sea, feed by straining suspended food particles or small organisms from water and are harmless to humans.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2015, with the headline 'A protected species - alive or dead'. Print Edition | Subscribe