The world’s largest fish species was the surprise catch of the day for some Indonesian fishers last month.
Men in Indonesia’s Karimunjawa National Park were fishing for anchovies and small bait fish on October 8, but they caught more than they bargained for when they discovered a juvenile whale shark tangled in their net, reports the World Conservation Society (WCS) in a statement released this week.
Fortunately for the young whale shark—which was more than 13 feet (4 meters) long—there was a system in place to alert authorities. A Short Message Service (SMS) set up by the WCS and the national park allows people to report fishing violations and marine animal strandings to park authorities instantaneously.
The fishers, not wanting to get in trouble for accidentally catching the shark—and unsure about how to release it properly—used the service to text news of their catch to the authorities. Staff members from Karimunjawa National Park and the WCS quickly responded and helped release the young giant back into the ocean.
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