There is a lot of talk right now about the pros and cons of commercial fishing on a global scale. Moreover, while there are certainly problems with the industry, every now and then some good, weird news comes out of it. Take, for instance, the story of two pregnant tiger sharks caught in nets off the coast of Taiwan. While they did not survive the ordeal, two quick thinking fishermen made the best out of a bad situation.
On back-to-back days, fishermen caught two pregnant female tiger sharks. The seamen, from Changbin Township, were not seeking sharks, but rather Bluefin tuna. On the first day, when they pulled in the nets, the fishermen realized the problem. Caught in the net was a 1,100-pound female tiger shark. She was barely alive and quickly died. After looking at the size of the shark’s womb, the fishermen realized there were pups inside. With the mother already dead, the two fishermen went to work saving the pups. In total, they removed 38 full-term shark pups. They transported the baby sharks to the Eastern Marine Biology Research Center. There, researchers and aquatic biologists observed that the pups were healthy.
Thinking their good deed over, the fishermen went back out to sea the next day. Once again, as they checked their nets, they discovered a pregnant female tiger shark. In almost an identical situation, the mother died quickly and the fishermen went about removing the pups from her womb. Soon, thirty-seven more baby sharks were swimming in tanks at the Eastern Marine Biology Research Center. Unfortunately, the pups from the second tiger shark were not full-term and seven died the following day.
Staff members at the research center released the story to the media in June and have provided additional update. Nearly two months later, of the 75 shark pups initially rescued, 65 are still alive and healthy. All are eating baby squid and swimming well. Researchers hope this bizarre story of humans birthing shark babies reminds anglers across the world of their obligation to be responsible citizens of the oceans and not overfish.