40-foot whale shark: Fishermen sell rare (dead) fish for $18K

whale-shark-gi.jpgFishermen in Pakistan landed a big catch on Tuesday (Feb. 7) when they reeled in a 40-foot, 7.7 ton whale shark. The giant fish, reports MSNBC, was spotted 10 days ago off shore and believed to be unconscious at the time. When it was hauled on shore Tuesday, fishermen said they had found the fish already dead near a pier.

A huge crowd gathered at the port of Karachi to watch the leviathan be hauled ashore using cranes and pulleys. The carcass sold quickly for 1.7 million rupees ($18,750). The Christian Science Monitor reports that the shark's body will be put on display at the harbor's auction hall and the buyer will charge visitors a fee to see it.

"I have bought the fish, which usually has no significant commercial value, with the help of my friends just to appreciate the efforts of the fishermen who deserve some reward after spending an entire day in the open sea," Haji Qasim tells the Pakistani Dawn newspaper.

The whale shark, or Rhincodon typus, has a lifespan of 75 years and is on the World Conservation Union's list of threatened species.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images