A fisherman was seen transporting a 16-foot-long whale shark to a market in China, despite the fact that whale sharks are protected in China.
Cai Chengzhu, 48, says the whale shark accidently got caught in his net while he was fishing. He decided to load the shark up on his truck and drive 10 miles to Shishi where he planned to sell it. He said it died on the way to the market, and he had no idea that it was a whale shark.
"I asked the fish market officials that monitor this sort of thing, and they said that as it was already dead when we caught it and as it was there we may as well sell it."
A single carcass is worth about $30,000. The shark meat can be sold for food and the oil is sold to companies that make fish oil supplements.
Whale, Basking and Great White sharks are protected under CITES Appendix II, meaning that although they are not currently extinct, "they may become so unless trade is closely controlled," according to the CITES website.
Regulations in China state that if a whale shark is caught, they must immediately be set free. The creatures can live up to 100 years.