A 19.5-ft.-long dead whale shark (thimingila sura or panavaai) caused a flutter at the Kasimedu fishing harbour on Saturday morning. People were seen taking photos and videos, many of which went viral on social media.
P. Bharathi of the South Indian Fishermen Association said some fishermen might have brought it ashore thinking it was a big fish that would fetch a good price. “But since it was a protected species, they might have left it on the shore,” he said.
Sources in the Fisheries Department said the whale shark, an endangered species, weighed 1.75 tonnes and was 5.5 ft. wide. Officials of the forest and fisheries departments and the police conducted an investigation into the incident.
“Nobody knows how it came here. Such sharks are usually found in international waters in warm climates. There were no net marks, but there was one injury. It could have perhaps been hit by a large ship,” said an official of the Fisheries Department. The whale shark was later buried inside the fishing harbour.