Megamouth shark found in Burias pass preserved for public viewing
LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 14 — A dead fifteen-footer male megamouth shark (Megachasma Pelagios) named “Totthless” was fished in Burias Pass by Albay fishermen early in the week.
The huge fish underwent a necropsy or autopsy in Albay Park and Wildlife conducted by foreign veterinarians on Wednesday. It was a rare event not only in the Philippines but also in the entire world according to foreign and local doctors.
The shark is at least 2.1 meters wide with an estimated weight of 1,000 kilos, bigger than what has been recovered in Cagayan de Oro, which weighed 500 kilograms and 18 feet long.
The series of embalming of the shark will continue to make it last for 20 years. Once preserved, the shark will be placed in an aquarium at Albay Parks and Wildlife for public viewing.
Dr. Aa Yaptinchay, Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines director, said necropsy is a process of finding out the reason for the death of the shark.
Also on hand were foreign veterinarians headed by Dr. Alessandro Ponzo from the Large Marine Vertebrates, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Bicol, and Dr. Florencio Adonay, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Veterinary Office and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Arnold Embestro.
Yaptinchay said the necropsy done by the foreign veterinarians lasted up to 9:00 p.m. Wednesday.
Yaptinchay said that of the 66 megamouth sharks recorded throughout the world, 18 are found in Japan, 15 in the Philippines and some in the United States. Of these 15 found in the country, two appeared in Bicol, one in Donsol, Sorsogon, and one in Albay.
It is estimated that there are 500 species of the sea mammal in the world, of which 200 are in the Philippines.
The megamouth shark is the rarest species in the world with a life span of 100 years.
(Photo credit Wikipedia user YZX/ Excerpt from PNA report of Nancy Mediavillo.)