The whale shark was washed ashore near Kovalam off East Coast Road on Monday
CHENNAI: Wildlife officials have seized 350 kg of whale shark meat and bone from the Kasimedu fish market on Tuesday.
According to K.S.S.V.P. Reddy, Wildlife Warden, Greater Chennai, a whale shark was washed ashore near Kovalam off East Coast Road on Monday. A team of officials led by K.S. Sathyamoorthy, Wildlife Headquarters Range Officer, visited the spot on Tuesday and were told by the residents that the dead shark was cut into pieces by some fishermen from the same area, who took it to the fish market at Kasimedu.
The team rushed to Kasimedu and seized the meat and bones, which was packed in 16 bags.
As fish species had been brought under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act since 2001, poaching whale shark or removing the carcass would attract punishment under Wildlife Protection Act, Mr. Reddy said.
The Wildlife authorities are on the lookout for two fishermen who took the meat and bone to the fish market.
1996 incident recalled
Officials recall that during March 1996, a whale was washed ashore near Tiruvottiyur.
The whale strayed close inshore and it died after fishermen tried to move it towards the sea.
The whale carcass, which attracted curious onlookers to the beach, disappeared overnight. Some locals had claimed that the carcass was taken away in a government vehicle, which the State Fisheries department and Museum authorities denied.
Later it was known that the body was cut into pieces and taken away by fishermen.
A portion of the whale's skin was found stuck to the groynes laid on the shore as an anti-erosion measure.