The whale shark that was caught off Vietnam. Photo: YouTube.

A rare whale shark weighing almost a tonne was recently caught by a group of fishermen in Vietnam, who then cut it up and sold it.

Officials in Thanh Hoa Province identified the species on May 15, ten days after Facebook pictures and videos displayed the butchering of the whale shark, VN Express reported. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the whale shark, also known as Rhincodon typus, as “endangered.”

Than Hoa agriculture official Nguyen Duc Cuong said the authorities will endeavor to hold the individuals involved responsible for killing the shark under Vietnamese law.

The fishermen who caught the whale shark butchered it at Sam Son beach and then sold the meat at the market on May 5. Facebook posts showing the scene went viral, with commentators sharing and heavily criticizing the slaughter.

Vietnam is planning to ban all types of net fishing for a month every year from 2021 onwards. The ban was proposed in a bid to allow marine resources to recover from overexploitation.

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