Fishermen in the Philippines accidentally caught and later ate one of the rarest sharks in the world – the megamouth shark.
Only 40 others have been encountered, the World Wildlife Fund said Tuesday. The 1,100-pound, 13-foot megamouth died while struggling in the fishermen’s net on March 30 off Burias island in the central Philippines.
Okay, fishing nets kinda suck!
It was taken to nearby Donsol where it was butchered and eaten, said Gregg Yan, a spokesman for WWF-Philippines. The WWF tried to dissuade the fishermen from eating it, but shark meat is the main ingredient in a local delicacy.
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The first megamouth was discovered in Hawaii in 1976, prompting scientists to create an entirely new family and genus of sharks. The megamouths are docile filter-feeders with wide, blubbery mouths. Yan said the fish was tagged “Megamouth 41” — the 41st megamouth recorded in the world — by the Florida Museum of Natural History. It was the eighth reported encountered in Philippine seas.
The presence of two of the world’s three filter-feeding sharks along with manta rays and dolphins indicates that the region’s marine ecosystem is still relatively healthy and should continue to be protected. Yan urged fishermen who encounter the rare shark to immediately report it to authorities or the WWF.
Others megamouths have been encountered in California, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Brazil, Ecuador, Senegal, South Africa, Mexico, and Australia.