VIRAC, Catanduanes, Philippines—A dead baby whale shark, nearly 11 feet long and weighing between 200 and 250 kilos, was found by four fishermen floating in the deep waters of Maqueda Channel in the vicinity of this island province early Friday morning.
Jorge Reyes, chairman of the Municipal Agriculture and Fisheries Council, said in a telephone interview that he cautioned against butchering dead fish, which was found at around 5 a.m., for food.
He said Larry Tabuzo, one of four fishermen from Barangay (village) Magnesia del Sur in this town, had just caught a big blue marlin between Rapu-Rapu Island in Albay and Catanduanes Island when they came upon the dead whale shark, locally known as ‘butanding.”
The four fishermen tied a nylon rope around the tail of the whale shark and towed it to shore.
Tabuzo reported the find to Barangay chairman Gerrybel Bautista, who in turn notified the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.
Officials from the DENR, who coordinated with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, later came in and advised the barangay council to wait for the BFAR representative regarding disposal of the whale shark.
An official of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, who asked for anonymity, suggested that the whale shark may have been accidentally hit by a banca as it had a two-inch-long wound on the head.
“It may have strayed from its usual feeding site in the waters between Masbate and Sorsogon,” he said.