ALBAY, Philippines – A rare megamouth shark was found lifeless and washed up on a shore in the coastal village of Bagacay in Gubat, Sorsogon on Saturday, June 11.
The shark, with the scientific name Megachasma pelagios, was discovered at 10 am by local fisherfolk, according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the region.
BFAR Bicol Spokesperson Nonie Enolva said that the bureau is still verifying the deepwater shark’s cause of death.
“It’s an adult size, about 15 feet. I presumed It might be entangled in the fish net. We want to preserve it for museum material,” Enolva said.
“We want to know and verify the cause of death of the megamouth shark. We want to preserve it either through taxidermy or submerge it through preservation solutions,” she added.
Enolva explained that the megamouth shark is the “rarest specie” of deepwater sharks, and can reach a maximum length of 5.2 meters with a span of 100 years. It is said to spend the daytime in deep waters and surface to midwater depths at night to feed.
The Philippines is among the countries with the most sightings of the rare shark, according to the Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines. It said that there were only over a hundred sightings of the shark.
In 2015, a 4.5-meter megamouth shark washed ashore in Barangay Marigondon, Pio Duran, Albay.
Burias Pass, a body of water adjacent to Albay, Masbate, and Sorsogon, is considered a productive fishing ground and home to an array of marine species like sharks, rays, dolphins, and whales.
The Burias Pass is also known to be plankton-rich and has a constant current, which makes it ideal as an alley for so-called pelagic creatures. Among these are thresher sharks, hammerheads sharks, tiger sharks, and whale sharks locally called butanding – a “gentle giant” fish that frequently migrate to Donsol town in Sorsogon for feeding.
Enolva said Burias Pass is highly diverse – meaning, the Burias-Ticao Pass fishing ground is very important in the biological diversity of the region and is home to rare and endangered species. – Rappler.com