Rare Mega-mouth Shark Caught off Hualien

A fisherman contacted authorities after catching a rare mega mouth shark in waters off the coast of Hualien County on Taiwan’s east coast this morning, May 16.

The captain of the fishing boat, Mr Wu, notified the coast guard, as required by law, after bringing up the 5 meter-long, 700kg shark.

The shark has already been sold to a seafood restaurant in Ilan County’s Suao township. Apple Daily reported that the restaurant paid NT$80 per kilogram for the shark.

Kuroshio Ocean Education Foundation said that the mega mouth shark is a rare species and should be listed as a protected species.

However, under current law, the species is not protected. The mega mouth shark is listed as a rare species and under paragraph 5 of Article 65, of the Fisheries Act, fishermen must inform the coastguard, and keep the fish for 24 hours, allowing samples, and records to be taken, before it can be sold.

The mega mouth shark (Megachasma pelagios) is a deep-water species rarely seen by humans. It was only discovered in 1976, and up until April 2015, only 61 specimens had been caught or sighted, including 10 around Taiwan.

megamouth shark in truck
Coast guard and Council of Agriculture marine biologists examine a megamouth shark caught off the east coast of Taiwan May 16, 2017.

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