A megamouth shark caught by a fishing boat operating out of Hualien was sold to a restaurant after fishery authorities inspected the specimen and took samples today, May 6.
The 3.5 meter long shark weighed in at 612 kilograms after being brought into port by the Xin-Shenbao 36 fishing vessel shortly after 6:00am this morning. The captain reported the catch to the Hualien Port Security Office, as required by law.
After inspection and sampling, the shark was sold by auction with the winning bidder, a restaurant in Nan’ao, Yilan County, paying NT$61,200, at NT$100 per kilogram.
The shark sold today marks only the 100th megamouth shark seen since the species was discovered in 1976. Forty-five of the specimens have been discovered in Taiwan. Unfortunately the sharks are usually dead when brought up in fishing nets.
One reason megamouths (Megachasma pelagios) are rarely seen is they are a deep water species, and rarely come into shallower seas.
Despite being a rare species, the megamouth is not listed as a banned fishery species in Taiwan, as is the whale shark, for example. Instead, the megamouth is listed as rare, and the law requires that fishers report and fill in a survey questionnaire, while waiting for authorities to inspect and take samples of the specimen before it goes to market.
Professor Liu Shangyin of the Department of Marine Biotechnology and Resources at Sun Yat-sen University urged the government to speed up its efforts to have the species listed as protected. “The number of megamouths is less than that of whale sharks,” the professor was quoted as saying in an Apple Daily report.
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