This incident added to the list of endangered fish found dead on the beach in the past months, Chief of the Lumajang District Police Police Commissioner Muhammad Arsal Sahban stated.
"This whale shark we just found was smaller than another fish we found dead sometime earlier. The whale shark might have died due to dehydration, mainly when the fish was dragged by the current from the sea to the beach," he expounded.
The police chief remarked that several officers will move the carcass from the beach, so it would not be subject to malhandling by the villagers. In several cases of stranded or dead whale sharks, some groups of people would target the fish's meat for consumption.
The district office will move the body of the whale shark and examine the cause of its death.
"The police had contacted the Natural Resources and Conservation Office in East Java," he added.
During the January-September 2019 period, two whale sharks were found on Bambang Beach, Lumajang District.
Whale shark, the largest fish species in the sea, was listed as an endangered species by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2016.
According to IUCN's official website, the population of whale sharks in the Indo-Pacific region had reduced by 63 percent, while in the Atlantic, the population had dipped by 30 percent. On an average, the fish population worldwide has reduced by over 50 percent in the past 75 years.
Major threats to the whale shark population encompass fisheries catches, bycatch in nets, and vessel strikes. According to a latest research conducted by the IUCN, some whale sharks had been targeted in large-scale fisheries in India, the Philippines, and Taiwan.
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