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Jakarta Post

'They’re all dead’: 110 captive sharks in Karimunjawa die mysteriously

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 19, 2019   /   01:36 pm
'They’re all dead’: 110 captive sharks in Karimunjawa die mysteriously Blacktip reef sharks swim in this [stock image]. Despite their reputation as ruthless predators, sharks are much more likely to be killed by humans than to kill humans. (WWF/Cheryl Samantha Owen)

At least 110 sharks and dozens of other fish were found dead at a fish farm in the Karimunjawa Islands, Central Java. 

Cun Ming, the owner of the fish farm, explained that he found hundreds of fish floating in the farm's ponds on Feb. 7.

“It happened over a holiday in two ponds that had breeding sharks. They’re all dead,” Cun Ming told kompas.com on Tuesday.

He added that such a mass die-off had never happened before at the farm, where hundreds of sharks, 20 goatfishes and 10 tigerfish lived.

Cun reported the incident to the local police three days later and sent samples of water from the pond and the dead fish to a laboratory to investigate the cause of death.

“They say that it is impossible for large fish like sharks to die suddenly. This is not a disease. Someone is probably unhappy [with me or the fish farm],” he said.

Cun established the Hiu Kencana shark farm in 1960, which has attracted local and foreign tourists alike, as well as scientific researchers from outside Indonesia.

Today, he also breeds other fish and marine animals, including sea turtles.

However, around 25,000 travelers have signed a change.org petition addressed to Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti that call the Karimunjawa shark farms "exploitation".

The petitioners claimed the sharks were bred in "inappropriate" environments, with the ponds usually lacking live fish and marine plants and that the sharks were stressed by people in "dirty clothes" with "loud and raucous" behavior.

One of the solutions the petition suggested was a fund-raising campaign to help improve the sharks' living conditions and provide training for their caretakers. (mai)