Authorities looking for fishermen filmed feeding whale shark


Off-limits: The public has been reminded that they should not catch, feed or handle whale sharks as the animal was a protected species under the state fisheries laws. — Reuters

KOTA KINABALU: A video of a whale shark being fed by fishermen along the west coast of Sabah is being investigated by the state Fisheries Department.

The 95-second video uploaded on Jesselton Sabah Facebook page on Wednesday showed fishermen feeding the whale shark which had swam close to a fishing platform (or locally known as bagang) believed to be located in waters off Bongowan, under the Beaufort district about 70km from here.

The fishermen were seen feeding shrimp to the whale shark and touching it in the undated video.

When contacted, Sabah Fisheries Department director Dr Ahemad Sade confirmed that they were investigating the sighting. He declined further comment.

The Facebook posting had credited the video to one Lobo Hj Tahir.

It was learnt that the Fisheries Department is trying to locate the exact location. It is believed to be Bongowan waters, but there is also information the location could be off Papar, Kuala Penyu and also further north in Pitas.

“They are trying to locate the fishermen, ” said an official, who explained that they were still not sure if the whale shark known locally as ikan paus batik had left the area.

Officials explained that whale shark sightings were not uncommon but reminded the public they should not catch, feed or handle the animal which was a protected species under the state fisheries laws.

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