On June 11th, a megamouth shark washed up on the shores in the Philippines. The fisherfolk of Gubat in Sorsogon found the dead shark. While the cause of death is unknown, it is probably due to entanglement. This news comes from a spokesperson for the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Nonie Enolva.
Megamouth sharks are scarce to see. According to the Florida Museum, there have only been 269 confirmed sightings of the rare shark. This shark species was first spotted in 1976 and has been sighted worldwide. The first sighting wasn’t reported until years after it happened. This happened in Hawaii and involved a Navy ship on a secret mission.
Taiwan has the highest sightings of megamouth sharks due to bycatch. The Philippines comes in second. The last megamouth to breach on shore in the Philippines was in December of 2021.
Into the Deep Sea
The shark that washed ashore last week is the third megamouth shark to be washed in the Bicol area. But why are these sharks thriving and dying here? According to scientists, the Bicol area is rich in marine species, attracting other big fish species. Fishermen are going deeper trying to catch a more diverse fish and, in turn, catch or entangle these sharks.
Megamouth sharks live in deep water up to 15,000 feet below the surface. These sharks can live up to 100 years old if not caught in fishing nets and ropes. They can grow to be 16 feet long and weigh up to 2,700 pounds. This megamouth shark that washed ashore measured 15 feet long. It was probably a mature adult shark.
The hope is to find out exactly what happened to the shark and preserve it. The team will do this either by taxidermy or a preservation solution. Not every day do people see a massive megamouth shark, alive or dead.