Indian fishermen guide ‘world’s largest fish’ entangled in their nets back to the sea

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The whale shark found on the Indian beach is known as the world’s largest fish, officials said  (Twitter/ IndianEmbassyTR)
The whale shark found on the Indian beach is known as the world’s largest fish, officials said (Twitter/ IndianEmbassyTR)

A whale shark was guided back to the ocean by Indian fishermen who found the gigantic fish entangled in a net by a beach in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

The local fishermen found the shark trapped inside a shore fishing net in Visakhapatnam’s Thanthadi beach last week, according to an official.

Officials confirmed that the whale shark found on the beach is among the world’s largest fish.

“These are endangered,” said Anant Shankar, district forest officer (DFO).

After some efforts, the shark with a shiny black skin dotted with white spots was sent back into the waters with help from the forest department officials, fishermen and wildlife conservationists on 18 December, reported Indian news agency ANI.

The official explained how they managed to send the shark back into the water after a coordinated effort.

“The instructions from the DFO were simple — guide the whale shark to safety, sparing no efforts or expenses,” Mr Shankar said, the report added.

He added that the next set of actions to send the two-tonne fish back into the sea alive included “herculean efforts — both physical and mental, with tremendous coordination and collaboration by the forest department, fishermen and wildlife”.

The officer said the entire operation was a success. “The whale shark successfully swam back into the depths of the ocean," Mr Shankar said.

India will now be sharing photos of the shark with the Maldives Whale shark research programme for identifying it. Mr Shankar said it will help them understand the “movements and territories of these gentle giants better”.

He added that the fishermen in these areas are not being advised and requested to approach the forest department directly when the rescue and safe release of such animals and mammals arises. “ in such operations, time is of the essence,” he said.

“The fishermen will be given compensation in case of any damages to their fishing nets for release of Whale sharks in case the whale sharks get entangled in their fishing nets," the officer said.

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