Watch: UAE fishermen rescue stranded whale shark, return it to water

A video that has surfaced online shows roughly 10 men pulling and tugging as they attempt to move the beached fish back to safety

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Photo: Instagram
Photo: Instagram

Published: Thu 9 Feb 2023, 7:47 PM

Fishermen in Khor Fakkan have rescued a stranded whale shark after it got caught in a fishing net near Pearl Beach. Videos circulating on social media show the large shark, dark in colour and covered in spots, writhing as the men attempt to move it.

The footage shows roughly 10 fishermen pulling and tugging as they attempt to move the beached fish back into the safety of the water.

Whale shark sightings are not new to the UAE, and this is not the first time one has been stranded in the country's waters; a first-of-its-kind wildlife rescue operation in 2020 helped a critically endangered whale shark swim back to its habitat, after it found itself stranded in a man-made lagoon in Abu Dhabi.

The Abu Dhabi Marine Club stepped in to help tow the shark 20km away to the Arabian Gulf. The process took five hours, after which the whale shark was safely released.

In another incident in the same year, a whale shark measuring a whopping 7 metres long was spotted in Abu Dhabi's waters. Authorities warned residents against swimming and fishing in the area, while also cautioning the public against feeding the male whale or going near it, as it is an endangered species.

Whale sharks are not known to be dangerous to humans – as filter feeders, their diet consists mainly of plankton, and occasionally fish.

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