The ministry of fisheries and marine resources has warned member of the public not to eat the flesh of a whale (in photo) recently brought ashore by fishermen in the peninsular area.
Reports have it that some fishermen along the Freetown peninsular (Baw Baw beach area) accidentally captured a migratory whale in their fishing gear, whilst their target species was for cuta (barracuda).
“They spent the whole of Monday, the 16th September, trying to bring the whale to shore. They finally brought the captured mammal to the shore of Baw Baw wharf on Tuesday the 17th September 2018”, a statement from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources confirms.
Ministry sources say frantic effort was made to return the whale back to sea; but unfortunately, by that time, it was already tired and dehydrated.
The release further state that: the ministry will continue sensitizing local fishermen on the protection and conservation of the cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) and to encourage them to return these marine mammals back to sea whenever it is caught.
Marine mammals are endangered species listed in the Convention of International Trade in endangered species (cites), the International Union of the Conservation of Nature and natural resources (IUCN), the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and they are therefore protected nationally and internationally.
The fisheries management and development act of Sierra Leone, clearly states that: no persons shall take, land, sell, deal, transport or export aquatic animals or plants declared as protected or endangered without getting written permission from the ministry of fisheries and marine resources.
The ministry also took the opportunity to notify the general public that the meat of a dead whale has high concentration of mercury, cadmium and polychlorinated biphenyls (PBC’s) and other heavy metals that accumulates in the liver, the nervous system leading to heart disease and memory loss and is therefore declared very dangerous to human health.
“A dead whale is toxic waste”, the press statement concludes.
Mamadou Bailo Diallo