Rare megamouth shark caught off Taiwan’s east coast

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.

In May 2017, a 5 meter long, 700 kilogram megamouth shark was caught off the coast of Hualien.

A megamouth shark is seen onboard a fishing vessel in Hualien County, Taiwan, May 6, 2019. Picture: Coast Guard Administration, Ocean Affairs Council.
A rare species of shark is loaded onto a truck to be shipped to a restaurant. Picture: Coast Guard Administration.

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Sources: Liberty Times Network, Apple Daily.

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5 thoughts on “Rare megamouth shark caught off Taiwan’s east coast

  • May 7, 2019 at 6:42 am
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    Some of the information in this article is wrong. The reporter needs to do more research on the subject.

    This shark is in fact the 127 known specimen. (not 100)
    This is the 54th specimen from Taiwan. (not 45)
    Most of the sharks die when the nets are lifted out of the water.
    For more information see
    http://sharkmans-world.eu/mega.html

    Reply
    • May 8, 2019 at 12:11 am
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      Thanks for your contribution. Perhaps if you made your site readable, it would hold more authority as per the facts. White text on blue graphical background, really? And what are the sources for your information?

      Reply
  • May 7, 2019 at 11:57 pm
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    Beware, the scientific academia of America and Canada are upset. Probably some angry emails coming Taiwan way from these people but nothing sinister. Shark Fin Soup is delicious when proper species with strong stock rates are used, but even this is controversial.

    Reply
    • May 8, 2019 at 12:13 am
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      Shark fin soup tastes disgusting. It’s something only starving people used to famine and gulag food could enjoy.

      Reply
  • May 8, 2019 at 8:39 pm
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    What a shame. this species doesn’t pop up often. Pity they killed it.

    Reply

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