Mining coral reefs for gas pipeline probably caused the deaths of two 20-feet long whale sharks

Maungdaw: Many valuable marine creatures inhabiting the Arakan coast are being killed due to the mining of coral reefs for the construction of a gas pipeline that will connect to China.

The observers said the two whale sharks that were found dead on the 7th of March on a beach in southern Maungdaw Township were probably killed after sustaining injuries from the mining of coral reefs for the gas pipeline construction.

It is learnt that the dead whale sharks were a pair of male and female— the male shark was 21-feet long and 12-feet in girth while the female one was 18-feet and 8-inches long and 8 feet in girth.

“Nasaka officers came and asked the directorate of fisheries in Maungdaw about the sharks, in order to report to their higher authorities. The directorate told them that the fishes were not from of the sea of Maungdaw, but they were the from the sea of Kyaukpru and Thandwe, and remarked that the fishes probably moved here from those areas for some reason”, said an official of the fisheries.

It is learnt that many fishes in and around the undersea coral reefs in Kyaukpru Township are being killed or forced to flee as the coral reefs are being blown away by mines for the laying of the gas pipeline.

“The Maungdaw District Directorate of Fisheries could not confirm why the sharks were killed. It said that they were from the sea in Kyaukpru and Thandwe and supposed to be killed after running aground on the beach after being caught in a fisherman’s net and released. There was lezz possibility that they were killed after being released from the nets, but mostly likely after sustaining some injuries”, said a fisherman from Maungdaw.

It is also learnt that the hunting of whale sharks is being banned by the central directorate of fisheries in Burma.

“Those sharks were likely killed by the explosions of mines because they were in the sea in Kyaukpru and Thandwe Townships. The coral reefs are now being blown away with mines and so many creatures are being found killed in the sea especially near the villages of Thankyauk, Sunpanshein, Saichrone” said a resident of Kyaukpru.

It is learnt that the unlevel coral reefs at the Sunpanshein Village, opposite of Kyaukpru Town as well as at Mingan or Thankyauk on Masarai Island are being destroyed with mines.

Kyaukpru’s resident said that Thankyauk Village was the place from which iron ore was extracted during the reigns of Arakanese Kings and it was described in an article in the special publication on the 10th anniversary of Rakhine State.

It is learnt that those fishes were found on the morning of 7th of March on a beach nearby Inndin Village that is under Nasaka Area No. 8 in southern Maungdaw and the skeletons of the fishes are now planned to be taken to Rangoon.

It is also learnt that the whales and the whale sharks are already scarce due to a lack of systematic preservation though they were once the plentiful in Arakan coast.