Something (hugely) fishy…for Rs 170,000 or jail

For Dilawar Hussain, catching one of the biggest fish in the Pakistani waters came with a heavy price. Although the fisherman sold off his enormous catch with a hefty price tag of Rs 170,000, the maritime security personnel caught whiff and reportedly arrested him on “unspecified charges”.
In the early hours of Tuesday at the Karachi Fish Harbour (KFH), Hussain brought to the Hora Jetty a 40 feet long whale shark, Rhincodon typus, weighing in at a massive four tonnes.
A large crowd gathered at the jetty making it difficult for the KFH rescuers to reclaim the fish from the sea.
Two huge cranes of 35 tonnes each were called in to reclaim the prize from the sea and it took them at least six hours in pulling the huge fish out of the water. The operation also rendered a part of the Hora Jetty badly damaged.
Reportedly, the fish was caught late Sunday night at the Ghora Pari Point around 50 miles away from the Karachi harbour off Arabian Sea. Locally called the “Andhi Magar” or blind fish, the whale shark had died after entangling in the fisherman’s net at Indo-Pakistan sea border area known as “Kaar”.
The 4,000-kg whale shark was, reportedly, auctioned off for Rs 0.17 million.
The fish meat may be used in the production of poultry feed.
Considered the largest extant fish species in the world, the whale shark is a slow-moving filter feeding shark. The largest individual confirmed on record had a length of 12.65 metres (41.50 feet) and weighed over 21.5 tonnes. Unconfirmed reports suggest the presence of considerably larger whale sharks.
The distinctively-marked fish with a lifespan of about 70 years is found in tropical and warm oceans.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports suggested that Hussain was arrested by security personnel either from the Pakistan Navy (PN) or the Maritime Security Agency (MSA), raising many question over the legality of the fisherman’s arrest.
However, the spokespersons of PN and MSA, when contacted, denied that any of their quarters concerned had detained any person.
PN’s Commodore Salman Ali told Pakistan Today said: “None of our quarters have reported the arrest [of Hussain]. Our presence at fisheries [KFH] is negligible.”
MSA spokesman Muhammad Farooque also denied involvement of his agency in the matter.
The obscurity surrounding Hussain’s detention, however, cleared when sources at the KFH informed Pakistan Today that the fisherman was arrested by the personnel of the Marine Fisheries Department (MFD).
Even this raises serious questions about the security arrangements inside Pakistani waters as to how the fisherman managed to freely tow the mammoth fish from Kaar to the Karachi harbour without any security checks.
Four security agencies, including KFH, Karachi Port Trust (KPT), Pakistan Customs and MSA, are working in the Pakistani territorial waters.
The MFD was able to arrest the fisherman only after his arrival at the KFH.
Talking with Pakistan Today, former KFH director general Moazzam said the whale shark is one of the largest fish in the world. “Whale sharks live in warm waters and Pakistani waters are a breeding place for the fish,” he said.
“We had caught the babies of whale sharks in 1982, 1988 and 2005,” Moazzam recalled, adding that the existing laws in Pakistan are silent on catching such fish. “Any fisherman can catch the whale shark in the sea,” he said.
The shark was placed in the outer section of the KFH for exhibition, where the general public visited in great numbers to see the fish.

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  1. A Citizen said:

    Let the man have his fish and eat it too……

    What the F is the point of arresting him…..IT'S A FREAKING FISH!

    • Ocean Defender said:

      The whale shark is becoming an endangered species. That is the "Effing" problem.

    • HandmadeKatie said:

      Whale sharks, basking sharks, and white sharks were declared endangered in 2008. 50 other species are considered threatened. The ICUN and researchers across the world have watched shark populations drop dramatically over the past 20 years.
      The initial reports were that the whale shark was reported dead and floating about a week and a half before it got to shore. No matter what the case is here, these animals are amazing creatures which help preserve the delicate balance of our oceans.

  2. martinho said:

    The whale shark is a globally endangered fish. So fishermen can catch a whale shark freely, really ? Thats what the director of KFH said …if thats so, then why was Hussein arrested ? My guess is that this fish is protected, and as such, should not be caught.

    • Jeff said:

      How come the Director of the KFH hold his job as he really doesn't know what endangered species are and act upon their protection in Pakistani waters.

  3. BerksBootBoys said:

    It's only a fish !!! What an ignorant comment from a charming person I'm sure. By 1986 only 250 of these fish had ever been sighted, they are very rare and now even rarer thanks to this prat in a boat. Eariler this year I paid a damn sight more than Rs,170,000 to swim and dive with these wonderful creatures in the Philipines, an amazing experiance seeing a truly gentle gaint in its natural habit. Proof as if needed that these creatures are worth so much more alive than strung up on some dock somewhere. Jail the fish killer and protect these animals before they are gone, extinct is forever.

  4. MBN said:

    Rare fish indeed but then again you have to realise our fisherman at large aren't really at the pinnacle of intellectual society. This is made obvious by the FOOL fisherman to sell it for such a low price, this fish was worth that much in DOLLARS at least.

  5. MBN said:

    Rare fish indeed but then again you have to realise our fisherman at large aren't really at the pinnacle of intellectual society. This is made obvious by the FOOL fisherman to sell it for such a low price, this fish was worth that much in DOLLARS at least.
    Awareness is not there to protect the species. We can't expect to arrest someone for a crime they didn't even know they committed.

    • BBCons said:

      Even if we had posters up everywhere about how endangered they are, they fishermen won't care – infact if it is worth as much in dollars, that gives the fisherman a huge incentive to land them if they get 'accidentally' entangled in their nets like here, and no doubt we will see more 'accidents'. In fact there is a global alliance for whale shark research and monitoring ( and dive schools all around the world contribute to sightings data. Plus you have International shark conservation agencies like, and not to mention international laws protecting them, such as CITES (Control for the International Trade of Endangered Species) so I'm guessing that was why he was arrested.
      I hope the arrest is a deterent to the other fishermen "fools" you mention. There's some awareness for you.

  6. sanity said:

    Not sure what you guys are talking about. There is a thing called law. Is there a law in Pakistan which bans the fishing of whale shark? I don’t know but looking at the general lawlessness in our country I don’t think anyone in our country ever thought about making a law. Secondly, this dish is far from being extinct. Their conservation status is vulnerable. Thirdly, you really think a fisherman in his usual fishing boat went out in the seas and caught this 50 foot giant? This fish could already be dead and the poor guy just toed it to the shore. Really doesn’t need to be jailed. Although I do believe that he was jailed for not giving enough commission to the relevant authorities. Its all messed up!!!

  7. Charlotte Fleming said:

    If the whale shark did die in the fisherman's net, as the report says, that's another good reason to ban the use of drift nets – what else did he catch too, that may be even more endangered? If the net was strong enough to hold a 40-foot long shark weighing 21.5 tons, it was strong enough to hold pretty much anything that lives in the ocean. Not good!!

  8. Melissa said:

    This is despicable…….shows you exactly why net fishing is wrong. Such a beautiful creature, to lose it's life.

  9. sylvia Adam said:

    MANY fisherman around the world PLEAD INOCENT when it comes to catching ANY fish that brings in the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. ITS GETTING A SICK EXCUSE. I hope the authorities charge him + fine him so heavily he has to CLEAN UP THE FILTHY CONDITIONS surrounding him to pay FOR THIS CRIME, and it is a crime.
    make him pick up rubbish for a YEAR

  10. Tony DeMaio said:

    Why do people feel the need to @%&* with everything that is endangered…if they feel the need to kill let them start right downtown. I'm sorry but all sharks need to be left alone.

  11. JulieWright said:

    I've read so many different versions of this.
    It was said the Whale shark was caught in fishing nets…….where are the netting marks which would remain on its skin, even post- mortem?
    It was suggested it was a victim of boat strike…….looking at the photos, there seems no evidence-what part of the shark did the vessel hit? Its shadow??
    It was said it was dead & floating around for days……Why is there red blood-albeit a small amount- beneath the shark's head in a close-up shot in another article?- blood coagulates & doesn't spill after death. Why is it not showing any signs of decomposition AT ALL?- these are warm, tropical waters.
    And just for the little scientific fact, sharks DON'T float when dead- they sink.
    The Whale shark is protected by ITES- even if the chap only earned himself 1$, it's commerce & thus illegal.

  12. ericka said:

    there should be less fishermen, and more fish.
    but perhaps, when they empty the seas of life, they'll eat each other.

  13. suzy said:

    A highly endangered species the Whale Shark is undoubtedly a fish that roams the oceans with absolute splendour. A gentle giant indeed, the complete lack of respect for this beautiful creature is utterly distasteful. If, in fact, it was found 'dead', that should make it highly inedible and should not give reason to cut off its fins. This should be cause for speculation by environmentalists and conservationists alike, who should be seeking to protect this species – especially under the environmental laws of today. Clearly there was no government check on the workings of these fishermen to bring such a large endangered specimen onto shore and make a skeptical out of it. This would only give reason for other fishermen to scout for more for themselves (seeing the large sum of money it attracts – though the sold value is no where near its actual worth). These Whales breed in warm Pakistani waters, and hunting them would be the worst possible stance these fishermen could take at this point in time. Judging by the size of this very fish, I believe it to be such a waste and loss of a life. Already we've left nothing of our eco-system in Pakistan – ravaging forests, callously polluting our atmosphere, driving many species of plants, animals and birds to the brink of extinction. This incident is a perfect depiction of our selfish, leech like existence.

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