After local fishermen in Indonesia’s Karimunjawa National Park unintentionally caught a four-meter-long, juvenile whale shark they became quite concerned. The net was set for anchovies and other small fish, not for large, protected species, and they weighed the possibility that a fishing violation like this could cost them their business. The time was about 10 p.m., and they decided to send an SMS message to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) hotline. The rangers met with the fishermen in the morning, checked on the whale shark’s health and released it by 8 a.m.
The seemingly trivial event was meaningful to Stuart Campbell, the director of the WCS Indonesia Marine Program. The successful handling of the incident by both parties confirms the improvement of communication and trust between the local fishermen and WCS rangers.