How ‘the largest fish in the sea’ ended up on the roof of a tractor


A dead whale shark being carried on a tractor in a seafood wholesale market in Xiangzhi township in Quanzhou, east China’s Fujian province, on Aug. 1. (AFP/Getty Images)

Weighing about two tons and measuring 16 feet long, this whale shark caused quite an uproar in China after it was transported through the streets of Xiangzhi in east China’s Fujian province. According to local media, a Chinese fisherman caught the whale shark Friday while fishing off Fujian province.

According to the Shanghaiist, Captain Cai Chengzhu told News 163 he had caught the fish by mistake after it became entangled in his net. After struggling to free itself, the shark died.  The fisherman then transported it on shore by tractor and was planning to sell it for as much as $3,300 before the Fujian fisheries department stopped the sale. It is illegal to catch or sell whale sharks.

 

Known as the world’s largest fish, the whale shark can grow up to 45 feet long and live more than 100 years.  It’s highly prized on the black market. In January, the environmental group WildLifeRisk exposed what it described as “the biggest ever whale shark slaughterhouse uncovered in southeastern China,” which slaughtered 600 whale sharks annually to produce “shark oil for health supplements.”

 

Chengzhu told local media that at the time he tried to sell the fish he didn’t know what it was.

Nick Kirkpatrick is a digital photo editor at The Washington Post. Follow him on Instagram or on Twitter.
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