New Delhi: Fishermen have saved yet another whale shark in the Western Indian state of Gujarat, making it the 9th recorded case in one-and-a-half years.
Conservationists are happy at the positive development, since fishermen who used to mercilessly kill them for profits before, have now turned protectors.
In the latest incident on May 7, fishermen have freed a 20-feet-long fish, about 20 nautical miles off the coast of Veraval in presence of officials.
“It is encouraging to see the active teamwork between the fishermen, the fisheries and forest officials, which has helped to rescue and release 9 whale sharks in the recent past,” Dhiresh Joshi of Wildlife Trust of India said.
Conservationists are hopeful of the increased cooperation between the stake holders, which would boost conservation actions.
“WTI’s Save the Whale Shark Campaign has transformed these fishermen into protectors. It is amazing that there has not been a single recorded case of whale shark killing in the last three years on the Gujarat coast,” Aniruddha Mookerjee, Sr. Director of WTI said.
The local administrations in Veraval, Diu, Dwarka, and Porbandar have vowed to protect the fish in the recent past by declaring it as their mascot.
Spiritual leader, Shri Morari Bapu had joined the campaign to sensitize the fishermen for conservation of the fish.
The campaign is jointly run by WTI, IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), Tata Chemicals Ltd., and the Gujarat Forest Department in the year 2004.
Following the success of this campaign, experts are now concentrating on the behaviour and the migratory patterns of the species on the Indian coast.