Luck struck twice for an East Coast Demerara businesswoman, whose fishing boat, ‘Miss Mamso,’ hauled in an amazing 40-foot whale shark last Monday.
This newspaper was told that the owner of the fishing boat had recently won a prize for shopping at Courts Guyana Limited, and with her winnings, she purchased an outboard engine.
The engine was fitted to a boat which landed the catch on its maiden voyage.
According to the fishermen, while hauling in their net, they felt something huge inside, and whatever it was was threatening to pull the boat over.
They claimed, though, that the huge fish died while still being trapped in the net.
That catch was so overwhelming that they (fishermen) could not haul it ashore with their boat, and solicited the help of a tug to pull it to the Greenfield Foreshore, where it was eventually dismembered.
As news of the catch spread, scores of villagers flocked the seashore to get a glimpse of the jumbo catch.
The whale shark is not known to be found in this part of the world, and the fishermen suggested that it may have strayed from its natural habitat.
The whale shark, (Rhincodon typus,) is a slow filter feeding shark that is the largest living fish species.
It can grow up to 40 feet in length and can weigh up to 13.6 tonnes.
The species is believed to have originated about 60 million years ago.
About the whale shark (online resources)
The species was first identified in April 1828 following the harpooning of a 4.6-metre (15.1 ft) specimen in Table Bay, South Africa.
The whale shark inhabits the world’s tropical and warm-temperate oceans.
While thought to be primarily pelagic, seasonal feeding aggregations of the sharks occur at several coastal sites, such as Gladden Spit in Belize; Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia; Útila in Honduras; Donsol, Pasacao and Batangas in the Philippines; off Isla Mujeres and Isla Holbox in Yucatan Mexico; Nosy Be in Madagascar and the Tanzanian islands of Pemba and Zanzibar.
As a filter feeder, it has a capacious mouth, which can be up to 4.9 feet wide and can contain between 300 and 350 rows of tiny teeth.
It has five large pairs of gills with two small eyes, which are located towards the front of the shark’s wide, flat head. The body is mostly grey with a white belly; three prominent ridges run along each side of the animal, and the skin is marked with a “checkerboard” of pale yellow spots and stripes.
Its skin can be up to four inches thick.
The shark has a pair each of dorsal fins and pectoral fins.
A juvenile whale shark’s tail has a larger upper fin than lower fin, while the adult tail becomes semi-lunate (or crescent-shaped).
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