Just a few weeks into 2012 and "Shark Week" already has something new to broadcast when the popular annual event returns later in the year. No doubt Discovery Channel is already bidding on the rights to video and photos of the giant shark fisherman found floating unconscious about 90 miles off the coast of Pakistan Tuesday. According to the Daily Mail, the massive Whale Shark might even be a record-breaker.
A group of fishermen trolling the Arabian Sea on Tuesday came upon the drifting hulk of what is estimated to be at least a 40-foot Whale Shark and summarily secured their find and brought it to shore. Photos and a video posted by the Daily Mail show excited crowds gathered at the Charai Fishery in the bustling port city of Karachi as the shark was reeled in and hoisted onto the docks.
Muhammad Yousef, owner of the fishing boat that first discovered the shark and towed it to shore, told News Pakistan that the shark was already dead when he and his crew found it.
Two cranes proved unequal to the task of pulling the approximately 8-ton behemoth from the sea. A heavier third crane was brought in to accomplish the laborious feat.
According to News Pakistan, the Whale Shark was sold at auction for a few thousand dollars, although the final price paid was uncertain due to conflicting stories.
The giant shark could easily be one of the biggest ever captured. The largest on record, according to the National Geographic website, measured 41 feet long and weighed over 47,000 pounds.
The 40-foot specimen is just the latest whale shark to be found dead in Pakistani waters in the past seven years. According to World Wildlife Federation marine biologist Moazam Khan, approximately 30 Whale Sharks have died. He noted that they were on the endangered species list.
“No one kills them intentionally now," he said.
Left alone to feed on plankton, small plants, and tiny fish, a whale shark can live to be 70 years of age, growing more massive with each passing year. They pose no threat to humans.
A skeptic might interject that the lure of money for such a gigantic haul, not to mention the possible fame that comes with pulling in the largest shark on record, could very well provide enough incentive for fishermen to kill the docile marine animals. Per capita income in Pakistan in 2009 (via UNICEF) was just over a thousand dollars.
(photo credit: jon hanson, Creative Commons)