The Jakarta Post
Officials from the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry and environmentalists have rescued whale sharks being kept in a floating cage in Maluku by a Singapore-based businessman, who allegedly intended to sell them to China.
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said in Jakarta on Friday that the fish were immediately released into the open sea after they were discovered in a floating fish cage owned by Hendrik, who was not present when the site was raided.
The whale shark is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Susi said.
The rescue operation was jointly conducted by ministry officials and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) activists. The case is under police investigation and no suspects have been named.
Under the Fisheries Law, anyone caught mistreating protected animals could face six years’ imprisonment and a Rp 1.5 billion (US$110,000) fine.
The WCS has reported 22 cases of marine wildlife crimes since 2014, country director Noviar Andayani said.
She said the whale shark population continued to fall because of poaching. (sha/bbn)
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