(Photo: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro)
An enormous whale shark has washed ashore in Pakistan.
The 40-foot long shark washed ashore in Karachi, Pakistan, and was lifted from the ground by three cranes. Local residents then bid on the shark, which fetched a price of over $18,000. The shark was spotted unconscious in the water 10 days ago, and fishermen waited until it was closer before attempting to move the fish.
According to National Geographic, whale sharks are human-friendly, feasting primarily on plankton and small fish found in the weeds. "Although massive, whale sharks are docile fish and sometimes allow swimmers to hitch a ride," notes National Geographic.
Unfortunately the whale shark is an endangered species due to "small-scale harpoon and entanglement fisheries…in various regions of the world, including India (whale shark fishing banned in 2001), Pakistan, Taiwan (Province of China), the Philippines (banned in 1998) and the Maldives (prior to protection in 1995)."
The whale shark is hunted for its meat, oil, and fins, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. "Populations appear to have been depleted by harpoon fisheries in Southeast Asia and perhaps incidental capture in other fisheries. High value in international trade, a K-selected life history, highly migratory nature and normally low abundance make this species vulnerable to commercial fishing," says the organization.
Fishing is important to Pakistanis, providing cheap meat and supplies for those unable to afford higher-priced meat. The country has approximately 815 km of coastline; the country greatly depends on its exportation for economic survival.