By Peeranut P., Sanook.com
A FISHERMAN and his crew from Satun province safely released three huge whale sharks that had got entangled in their fishing nets after which they quickly swam off into the open sea, Sanook.com reported yesterday (June 30).
Mr Navin Manakitsomboon or Tai Ball, 37, steersman of Por Chok Praphon 1 trawler shared difficult to obtain photos of his crew helping release the three huge whale sharks, that appeared to be a family – mum, dad and kid – from the nets, with this task taking over an hour to complete.
He said he had taken the trawler to an area seven nautical miles to the east of Koh Rok, which is part of Krabi province and is under the supervision of Mu Koh Lanta Marine National Park.
After casting and then draw up the nets he saw the three huge whale sharks, of a size so big he has never in his whole life seen before, entangled in them.
He got around six to seven boat hands to go into the water and free the giant animals with the last one to be released likely to be a female. This last whale shark was huge, measuring around half of the length of his boat which is 24 metres long, or approximately 10 metres and weighing around two tonnes.
Navin added that fishermen in this area of Thailand run into whale sharks often because the sea is fertile and now even more so with the absence of disturbing tourist boats.
He added that as his crew worked in the sea freeing the trio whale sharks he managed to take some photos with these being rare images for a fisherman to have.
According to Wikipedia, the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a slow-moving, filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest known extant fish species. The largest confirmed individual had a length of 18.8 metres (62 feet).
The whale shark holds many records for size in the animal kingdom, most notably being by far the largest living nonmammalian vertebrate.
It is found in open waters of the tropical oceans and is rarely found in water below 21 °C (70 °F). Modeling suggests a lifespan of about 80 years, and while measurements have proven difficult, estimates from field data suggest they may live as long as 130 years.
Whale sharks have very large mouths and are filter feeders, which is a feeding mode that occurs in only two other sharks, the megamouth shark and the basking shark. They feed almost exclusively on plankton and small fishes, and pose no threat to humans.
Navin’s crew free the three whale sharks from the fishing nets. Photos: Sanook.com