A 16-foot whale shark (Rhincodon typus) has been spotted in the waters off Tung Lung Island in the New Territories, Headline Daily reported on Tuesday.
A fisherman identified as Mr. Po said he was aboard his 20-foot boat around 9 a.m. on Monday when he saw the big fish. He said the weather was unstable at the time.
When the triangular fin of the fish emerged from the water, he immediately thought it was a shark, but his fear subsided when he realized that it was a whale shark, which is not known to attack humans. He even went closer to take pictures of the creature.
It was his first encounter with a whale shark in Hong Kong waters, he said, having seen whales and dolphins in the flesh before.
Chong Dee-hwa from the Ichthyological Society of Hong Kong said the appearance of whale sharks in Hong Kong waters could a good sign that sea resources are slowly recovering, and that the ban on trawling practices implemented three years ago is effective.
Chong expected more whale sharks to be spotted as they come to feed in local waters.
He said he is not worried that the sighting of whale sharks might be a sign that dangerous sharks are also lurking in the waters, saying that the two have no correlation.
Whale sharks are slow-moving, filter-feeding creatures and the largest known extant fish species. They feed on planktons, small fish and squids.
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