An enormous basking shark, found in the nets of a fishing boat off Australia, has scientists excited and conservationists mad as hell.
A two-ton basking shark was accidentally netted off the coast of Australia’s southeastern frontier. The 20-foot sea creature, as a species, has been seen only three times in the region in the last 160 years, according to the Victoria Museum.
Dianne Bray, the museum’s senior collection manager of vertebrates, said, “As they do not need to breathe air like whales and dolphins, they are not so commonly seen at the surface. We have no idea of what their numbers may be.”
While the rare fish was dead by the time it was found and removed from the netting, the crew were quick to contact the museum. Whereas under normal circumstances, a ‘catch’ like this might have been sold to the fin or meat trade, this 20-footer will be used for research.
In the case of conservationists, this catch is sure to bring swift condemnation. With overfishing and by-catch issues so prevalent in the world, anytime a large free-swimming and docile creature like a basking shark is killed, people are, rightfully, upset.
Hopefully the death of this magnificent sea animal won’t be wasted.
Photos via Fuzz Fix