Carcasses of sharks seized

April 24, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:46 am IST - RAMANATHAPURAM:

Forest officials have seized 10 carcasses of suspected Speartooth sharks, an extremely rare and endangered species, when they fell on the roadside after the truck in which they were being transported met with an accident near Erwadi in the early hours of Saturday.

After forest guards, who were on routine patrol on the Erwadi seashore, found the dead sharks scattered on the road and alerted higher officials, a special team led by S Ganeshalingam, Forest Range Officer, rushed to the spot and seized them. The team has detained driver N. Suresh (29) and two other persons, including a juvenile, who were transporting the sharks to Marthandam in Kanyakumari district from Poompuhar in Nagapattinam, sources said.

Enquiries revealed that some ‘greedy’ fishermen who had ventured into deep sea, about 50 km northeast of Nagapattinam, had caught the sharks, using tuna long liner when the 45-day ban on fishing was in force.

Nihar Ranjan, Conservator of Forests (Madurai circle and in charge of Virudhunagar circle), who was on a routine visit to the District Forest Office here and Deepak S Bilgi, Wildlife Warden, Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, inspected a shark and found it to be Speartooth shark species.

Features of the endangered species such as tiny eyes, relatively large second dorsal fin and staggered teeth matched with the features of the seized shark, sources said. Distribution of the sharks in Tamil Nadu coast was rarely observed from a catch of trawl nets along the Palk Bay, Gulf of Mannar and Nagapattinam coasts, they added. However, to ascertain the species, the officials sent five carcasses to the Central Marine Fisheries Research Centre (CMFRI).

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