Wednesday, February 8th, 2012. Karachi Harbour presented the looks of a cluttered zoo on Tuesday February 7, when a giant Whale Shark washed over the shores of the busy port, pulling in hordes of local people. The giant fish, weighing around seven metric tons, was the centre of attraction of hundreds of people from all walks of life who gathered to catch a glimpse of the deep-sea creature for the first time.
Attempts were underway to lift the fish over the port platform, using the available cranes. The heavy carcass broke the one inch steel rope and a full 35-ton crane had to be called in to get the fish out of the water.
The circumstances of the death of the Whale Shark is still unknown and although this is not the first time a Whale Shark has ended up dead at the shores of Karachi, the reasons of their death are still shrouded in mystery.
“It was dead when my men found it,” said Muhammad Yousuf, who owns the fibre boat that was used to tow the body to Karachi. “We will try to auction it. Let’s see what it fetches us.”
There were people interested to buy the dead fish for a possible exhibition, minting money from the visitors. The bid surged to 1.7 million PKR and was later sold to a considerably lesser price by the Karachi Fish Harbour Authority, which triggered a controversy
later in the day.
“We all thought it was auctioned for Rs1.7 million. Now it has been confirmed that Qasim Niazi, a fisheries dealer, bought it for much less than that,” said Hafeezur Rehman, an official at the fisheries auction hall.
National Institute of Oceanography’s biologist Dr Hina Baig said that the whale-shark must have lost its way and become stuck in the shallow waters. “Whales use eco-sounds to find their way in water and if a large ship comes in the way, they get disoriented.”
Although Dr. Baig was severely delusional for being unaware of the fact that Whale Sharks are categorized as sharks and not Whales and do not have eco sound systems which she so confidently referred to.
Marine biologist at the WWF Moazam Khan said that around 30 whale-sharks have been found dead in Pakistani waters in the past seven years. “No one kills them intentionally now.” He said that the whale shark is an endangered species and should not be killed in any case.