TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Fishermen caught a record-breaking 800-kilogram demon shark with six pups off the northeastern coast of Taiwan, but have been criticized for using bottom trawling to catch the rare “living fossil.”
On the evening of Tuesday (June 13), the Taiwan Ocean Art Museum posted news on its Facebook page that fishermen at the Nanfangao Fishing Port in Suao Township, Yilan County caught a demon shark (Mitsukurina owstoni). It’s an odd-looking shark known as a “living fossil” because it’s the last of the carcharidae, dating back 125 million years.
Sharks have elongated snouts, protruding jaws, nail-like teeth, and small eyes with no blinking lids.
The goblin shark has a body length of 4.7 meters and is the largest specimen caught in Taiwan waters. According to the museum, fishermen accidentally caught the shark while trawling the bottom of the sea and found it to be a female with six young.
What the shark looks like after it is removed from the net. (Photo from Suao Fisherman’s Association)
The fishermen originally wanted to sell the shark to a restaurant for food, according to the museum. However, the museum convinced them to sell the shark to the facility for educational purposes and to exhibit it in the future.
However, as soon as the post was published, netizens criticized fishermen for using bottom trawling, saying that this practice affects rare species and should be banned. Some asked whether bottom trawling fishermen should be fined, while others called for a complete ban on the practice.
According to the “Regulations on the Location and Relevant Restrictions of Trawlers’ Prohibited Fishing Areas” promulgated by the Agriculture Committee of the Cabinet, trawlers are prohibited from trawling, casting nets, and hoisting nets within 5 kilometers from fishing boats. shore. Trawlers of 50 gross tonnage and above are prohibited from towing, casting and hoisting nets within 12 kilometers from the shore.