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WWF-Pakistan trained fishermen released rare squid in the offshore waters of Pakistan

Posted on 4 April 2016

Karachi, A fishermen named Hadayat Ullah operating has successfully released a large rhomboid squid in the offshore water of Pakistan on Mach 30, 2016. WWF-Pakistan has trained about 50 fishermen to release bycatch species if entangled in the their fishing nets. Rhomboid squid which is scientifically known as Thysanoteuthis rhombus has circumglobal distribution in tropical and subtropical waters. This species is considered to be commercially important and caught by set nets and drifting jigs in various parts of the world. This squid is of very rare occurrence in Pakistan and only a few specimens of this species are previously recorded from Pakistan. It was reported from Pakistan for the first time in 1995 but because of its rarity of occurrence, it is not commercially exploited in Pakistan. This species can grow to a meter length (most squids found in Pakistan are usually 20 to 25 cm long) and attain a weight of about 30 kg. This species is found in surface (epipelagic) and subsurface (mesopelagic) waters to a depth of about 1,500 m. It is also known to undergo diel vertical migrations.

According to Mr. Muhammad Moazzam Khan, Technical Advisor (Marine Fisheries, WWF-Pakistan, the report of it occurrence in live condition of this species is important as this species is a predator of oceanic waters and feed on other fishes and invertebrates (squids, oceanic crabs). This species itself known to be food of many fishes including tuna, swordfish, marlins, sharks and mammals (e.g. dolphins, false killer whale, sperm whale), therefore, play an important role in the pelagic ecosystem of offshore waters. All previous records of this species from Pakistan was based on vagrant accidently caught is fishing gears and landed in dead from.

According to Mr. Hadatyat Ullah, that although he could sold this specimen of squid at Rs 500 but he was aware that this species is very rarely caught, therefore, he decided to disentangle this squid very carefully from the fishing net and released it safely so that this animal may survive. He appreciated that training provided to fishermen by WWF-Pakistan which has not only increased their awareness but they are now contributing to the conservation of rare marine life.

Mr. Rab Nawaz, Senior Director (Biodiversity), WWF-Pakistan appreciated the efforts of fishermen to release of non-target species as it is contributing substantially to the conservation of non-target marine animals. Training provided to the fishermen engaged in tuna gillnet fishing is now bringing commendable results as these fishermen have released a large number of bycatch species including 28 whale sharks, 14 mobulids, 5 sun fishes, 3 dolphins, 2 whales and a score of other animals which indicates their commitments and also WWF-Pakistan’s resolves to conserve protected, endangered and threatened species..

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