Experts to cut up 40.1-foot long whale shark today

Published: February 10, 2012
The female fish weighs 15 tonnes and is being kept in the museum. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

The female fish weighs 15 tonnes and is being kept in the museum. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS


The big fish that was on show for twenty rupees for a day is leaving behind a trail of controversies and tears as the Karachi Fish Harbour Authority (KFHA), tried to preserve its decaying carcass.

The whale shark has stirred quite an interest among wildlife experts, some of whom are on their way to Karachi from the United Kingdom to carry out an autopsy and figure out the cause of death.

On Wednesday night, officials from the KFHA came in and removed the tents around the fish. They claim that the fish was actually government property and could not be put on display. They added that Haji Qasim, the man who had bought the whale shark for Rs200,000 would be compensated. On the other hand, the fisherman, who had towed the sea creature in, said that he wasn’t compensated properly.

According to the director general of the Marine Fisheries Department (MFD), Shaukat Hussain, the whale shark was a 40.1-foot long female and weighed 15 tonnes. He said that this was the second largest fish to be found in Pakistan. The director general added that a 41.5-foot long whale shark was found off Karachi’s coast in 1947.

Nip and tuck

Wearing a white lab coat, Hussain said that they had planned to cut the fish open on Friday (today).

He insisted that there was no need to wait for foreign experts despite the fact that Hussain or experts at the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) or Sindh Wild Life department have never done anything like this before. “I have asked experts from the PCSIR, National Institute of Oceanography, Sindh Wild Life department and academics from the University of Karachi’s marine biology department to collect samples.”

When asked if they had ever worked on a fish this big, Hussain said that they had worked on large fish so it should be different or difficult. The MFD could not determine if the whale shark was pregnant.

They claim that it died a natural death as they could not see any marks on the body. Dr Pirzada Jamal from the Pakistan Museum of Natural History is planning to come to Karachi to see if the fish could be preserved and flown to Islamabad for an exhibition.

The body of the whale shark is currently being preserved in ice in a room at the deserted Natural History Museum.

Finders keepers

After keeping a low profile, Muhammad Dilawar, the fisherman who had found the whale shark, has finally surfaced. He said that he was tired of giving interviews and not getting a reward. He added that it was unfair because he only got a couple of thousand rupees.

While talking to The Express Tribune about how he found the fish, he said that it happened five days ago. “It was stuck in the hook,” he said. “We had to pull it up. It took three hours.”

However, according to KFHA’s managing director, Abdul Jokio, the fish was found floating near Bhit Shah Island.

Although the fish was declared government property, Qasim said that he wanted his money back.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2012.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (13)

  • narayana murthy
    Feb 10, 2012 - 1:00PM

    If there’s someone in Pakistan, who suffered a more horrifying death and aftermath than Salman Taseer, it has to be this whale shark!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • Ahsan Mlk
    Feb 10, 2012 - 2:19PM

    The fishermen should be properly compensated.

    Experts should investigate to determine the cause of death. This is a very very rare species of fish and every expert would naturally be interested in the autopsy.

    The Caracas should be preserved too.


  • Feb 10, 2012 - 3:12PM

    It seems the KFHA had its share in those tickets. Where were they when people were having a “whale of a time” jumping on it and buying/selling/ticketing it without any authority? Seriously.. what kind of people run these “Authorities”? I’m sure KFHA wouldn’t give a hoot if experts from around the world weren’t on their way. And the Sindh wildlife department, why are they intervening Now when two days ago they completely disowned the fish?


  • HH
    Feb 10, 2012 - 3:55PM

    money money money!!!!!!


  • Baba Ji
    Feb 10, 2012 - 4:13PM

    Experts to cut up 40.1-foot long whale shark today

    and you all shall eat it in “Dar ul Mahi” and rest of the fried fish shops all over Pakistan in a day or two …. enjoy !!!


  • Afaaq
    Feb 10, 2012 - 5:29PM

    The things people look upto, shows how entertainment starved as a nation we are.


  • hmmmm
    Feb 10, 2012 - 8:46PM

    @narayana murthy:
    so much time to waste at Pakistani newspapers…… don’t you have your own troubles ???
    like ministers watching porn in raje sabha… India losing 8 tests on a trot abroad….60 percent living below poverty line….20 separatist organizations in India…. India among top five countries afflicted with AIDS…atrocities on Kashmiries in Indian occupied Jammu Kashmir by “uniformed aggressors”….wow…so much to worry and you are wasting time here…….???????


  • narayana murthy
    Feb 10, 2012 - 9:39PM


    Nice comment.

    I’m here to comment on Pakistani sites. I’m free because I’m filthy rich and I only earn and not work!!! Do u believe that? There are others to take care of the problems in India. I’m simply not qualified to do so. I can only comment and enjoy!!!!! I’m Hugh Heffner of Pakistani websites!!!!


  • UK
    Feb 11, 2012 - 1:32AM

    @narayana murthy:

    “I’m free because I’m filthy rich and I only earn and not work!!! Do u believe that? There are others to take care of the problems in India. I’m simply not qualified to do so. “



  • Peace On Earth
    Feb 11, 2012 - 8:43AM

    It’s a shame to see the way Pakistanis react. After reading this (and subsequent articles), I have come to the conclusion that Pakistanis care about themselves and no one else.

    The fisherman is upset because he didn’t get enough money? Are you serious? Rather than help the poor creature you sold it because of greed so you can make a quick buck and now you’re complaining?

    Look at the men stand on top of the poor creature that must have suffered an agonizing death. How humiliating!

    What if someone stepped on top of your dead relatives body and sold it to a medical college for surgery practices, wouldn’t you be upset?

    No wonder people look down on Pakistan and Pakistanis. I am ashamed to be one because of people like the fisherman and the rest of the Pakistanis who stood around making a scene rather than being concerned and praying for the poor animal.


  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Feb 11, 2012 - 1:16PM

    @Peace On Earth:
    it was already dead before fishermen caught it. Relax!


  • Lena
    Feb 12, 2012 - 1:09AM

    It is a sad day that one of the most gentlest sea creatures is treated as nothing more than a piece of property.Yes I can understand scientists wanting to do an autopsy and find out what happened but this … is nothing more than a “quick way to earn a buck” scheme.


  • La
    Mar 7, 2012 - 5:12AM

    I know I shouldn’t bother commenting on a news feed where I’m likely to only be responded to by misinformed petty behavior and hostility. But I simply wanted to put my two cents in and hopefully others who read this story will know it’s not all about racism and cruelty.

    Humans as a whole are corrupt. That includes western civilizations as well. But you can not judge a whole of a nation based on a couple dozen individuals that fell into some odd circumstances and found themselves on the news.

    I am saddened to see the behaviors that were depicted on an earlier video of this creature being removed from the ocean and treated like nothing more than a lump of rock.

    Is there no respect for life and death in this era? Deeply troubling.


More in Pakistan