Fish is on Red List of Threatened Species by IUCN; fishermen are advised to set them free whenever caught
A Whale Shark, around 12-14 feet in length, entangled in a fishing net near Alibaug was saved by alert fishermen on Thursday.
Manohar Salvekar from Teronda village was on his fishing boat Jai Malhar on Thursday when he spotted the trapped fish around Revdanda bridge near Alibaug. As soon as he realised the fish was entangled, “he showed great presence of mind and with the help of the people on his boat, cut the net to release the Whale Shark back into the sea,” Ganesh Nakhwa, vice-president of Maharashtra Purse Seine Fishing Welfare Association told mid-day.
Over the last couple of years, a number of awareness drives have been conducted among fishermen across Maharashtra’s villages with the help of the Mangroves Cell of the Maharashtra Forest Department and NGO, WWF-India. At these sessions, fishermen are informed of the process they must follow to prevent injuries and death of marine creatures if found caught in fishing nets.
“I think the awareness sessions are yielding results. A lot of our fishermen brothers release the marine creatures like turtles, dolphins, and whale sharks back into the sea. More such sessions must be conducted on a pan-India level for marine conservation,” added Nakhwa.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Whale Shark is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and is also one of the 16 endangered species identified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) of India.
According to marine experts, the Whale Shark is the fifth largest fish on Earth and can grow up to a length of 18 metres and weighs up to as much as 21 metric tonnes.