Fisherman rescues rare ‘Rhomboid squid’
A fisherman, who was trained to protect marine life, while hunting on the seas rescued a rare fish called ‘Rhomboid Squid’ last week off Ormara coast. Fisherman Hadayat Ullah successfully released a 45 centimetres long Rhomboid Squid 160 kilometres off south of Malan, near Ormara on Mach 30, 2016, the WWF-Pakistan said on Monday.
“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 is caught by set nets and drifting jigs in various parts of the world,” it said.
The very squid fish is of very rare occurrence in Pakistan and only a few specimens of this species are previously recorded from the country, it said, adding that “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 as most of squids that are found in Pakistan are usually reach 20 to 25cm long and attain a weight of about 30 kilograms. “This species is found on surface (Epipelagic) and subsurface (Mesopelagic) waters to a depth of about 1,500 meters. It is also known to undergo diel vertical migrations,” WWF-Pakistan said.
“The report of its occurrence in live condition is important as this species is a predator of oceanic waters and feeds on other fishes and invertebrates like squids and oceanic crabs,” Muhammad Moazzam Khan, Technical Advisor, Marine Fisheries, WWF-Pakistan said.
He said that this squid was also a food for scores of fish species including tuna, swordfish, marlins, sharks and mammals like dolphins, false killer whale and sperm whale. “Therefore plays an important role in the pelagic ecosystem of offshore waters. All previous records of this species from Pakistan were based on vagrant accidentally caught in fishing gears and landed in dead form,” he added.
Hadatyat Ullah, who released this squid, shared that he could sell the species at Rs 500 but knew its significance of being very rare. “I decided to disentangle it from the fishing net and release it safely so that this animal may survive,” he said and fisherman appreciated the WWF-Pakistan for training him and other fishermen on the protection of marine life.
Senior Director Biodiversity, WWF-Pakistan, Rab Nawaz lauded the efforts of fisherman in releasing a non-target species and 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 by catch species including 28 whale sharks, 14 mobulids, 5 sun fishes, 3 dolphins, 2 whales and a score of other animals which indicate their commitments and also WWF-Pakistan’s resolve to conserve protected, endangered and threatened species. The WWF-Pakistan has trained about 50 fishermen to release by-catch species if entangled in their fishing nets.