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A Whale of a Tale - Whale Shark Caught in Nets!

St Lucia’s fishermen had a whale of a tale to tell last month—a 29.7ft, one to be precise.

After becoming entangled in a tuna net the huge whale shark—the ocean’s biggest fish—ended up stranded south of Canaries on Anse Mahaut beach.

The whale’s story began at 9:00 AM on Thursday, November 24th, 2005, the Soufriere Marine Management Area’s (SMMA) Kai Wolfe was told by a water taxi operator that a large creature, possibly a whale, stranded at Anse Mahaut.

Off went the team from SMMA, helped by onlookers of course, the harmless plankton eating giant already categorizes as vulnerable by the Conservation of Nature, had apparently been caught in net set to catch a large school of tuna, which often accompany whale sharks, as they act as a natural Fish Aggregating Device.

The rescue turned out to be an all department affair the Department of Fisheries and Marine Police assisting dive shops, who must have relished the task to move the stranded leviathan back to deeper waters.

First of the dive boats was Anse Chastanet/Scuba St. Lucia, but despite 450 hp engine power, the dive boat was not able to budge the beast. However, with the combined efforts of Marine Police and Jalousie Plantation Resort, roared on by the many bystanders, some walked from as far afield as Canaries to take part in the event. It was a triumph of man and engine power as the giant shark was finally freed.

The animal was slowly towed into the open sea, parallel to the dive boat, helping to resuscitate by unclogging its gills. A mile off shore, the ropes were untied and the whale shark dived into the blue . . . never to be seen again . . . hopefully!

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