Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pakistan Whale Shark's Death a Mystery

Video of a dead whale shark being pulled from the sea off of Pakistan raises more questions about the school-bus-size fish's demise than it answers, scientists say.

Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune posted video on Tuesday (Feb. 7) of a crane hauling a whale shark carcass onto a pier in Karachi. According to the newspaper, the owner of the nearby Charai Fishery, spotted the animal floating "unconscious" 10 days earlier, 93 miles (150 kilometers) from the fishery. 

But sharks don't fall unconscious, said Bob Hueter, the director of the Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida. And if they stop swimming for any reason, they aren't likely to bob along with the currents.

"If and when they die, they don't float, they sink," Hueter told LiveScience. "So to have one just kind of wash up is very rare. I can only think of a few cases over the years around the world where this is happened."

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