By Vesela Todorova
The sight of a whale shark is normally a happy event for diving instructor Jeffrey Catanjjal and his customers.
But seeing one of the world’s largest fish on Friday morning at Dhadna Port fishermen’s loading areas brought anything but joy.
“It was just lying there and the divers were upset to see it on the ramp like that,” said Mr Catanjjal, who photographed the five-metre juvenile and talked to the crew who had brought it to the Fujairah shore.
While whale sharks are protected under local and international law and fishing them is illegal, the fishermen had brought it in after they found it tangled in their net that morning.
“They spoke very little English,” said Mr Catanjjal. “They said it was alive and moving when they found it and they decided to pull it out.”
The photos show the animal sustained serious cuts before its death, indicating the severity of its struggle to free itself, said Jonathan Ali Khan, a Dubai wildlife filmmaker and activist who was shown the pictures.
Mr Catanjjal could not say whether the crew knew they were breaching a federal law.
“It is legal to use this type of net and it had been in the right place for fishermen to put their nets but they have a responsibility to protect endangered marine life,” he said.
He said that if he had he been called while the animal was still alive, he could have helped try to free it.
Friday’s incident came two months after the same whale shark was seen by divers in Oman’s Daymaniyat Islands marine reserve. More....