• Images of the fish have been shared with Maldives whale shark research program for identification
  • Officials are asking fishermen to approach them for marine life rescue as time is critical in these situations
  • The whale shark swarm back into the ocean’s death shortly after the release

Local fishermen in India rescued a whale shark entangled in fishing nets and stuck near the shoreline and guided it safely back to the sea.

A joint team of fishermen, wildlife conservationists and officials with the forest department in Andhra Pradesh, India rescued a whale shark entangled in fishing nets. Later, the gentle giant was guided back into the ocean after officials took images of it for identification.

"The instructions from the DFO were simple- guide the whale shark to safety, sparing no efforts or expenses. What ensued were herculean efforts, both physical and mental, with tremendous coordination and collaboration by the forest department, fishermen and wildlife conservationists, to guide this 2-tonne fish back into the ocean alive," District Forest Officer (DFO) of Andhra Pradesh, Anant Shankar said, according to NDTV.

"And it was a success. The whale shark successfully swam back into the depths of the ocean."

Images of the whale shark are being shared with the Maldives Whale shark research program to identify the fish. The identification would help researchers better understand the territories and movement patterns of the species. The initiative advises the government on conservation policy.

The Forest department has urged fishermen in the area to approach them for rescue and safe release if they come across marine life entangled or trapped in nets. "In such operations, time is of the essence," Shankar said to ANI.

Shankar assured fishermen that they would be compensated if their fishing net got damaged in the rescue process.

"The fishermen will be given compensation in case of any damages to their fishing nets for release of whale sharks in case the whale sharks get entangled in their fishing nets," he said.

Whale sharks roam the oceans around the globe and generally travel alone. According to the WWF, whale sharks are an endangered species and have a high demand for their meat, fins and oil. They are victims of bycatch, the accidental capture of non-target species in fishing gear,” the institution states on their website.

Earlier this month, volunteers in Indonesia rescued several cats, cattle, and other animals trapped in volcanic ash on the island of Java.

Divers Enjoy ‘Last’ Swim with Whale Sharks in Maldives’ Hanifaru Bay
Representational Image REUTERS/David Loh