A 30-year-old man has found himself in trouble with the public and authorities after posting photos of himself on Sunday with a giant trevally (Caranx ignobilis) that he caught illegally off the coast of Pingtung.
After being called out on Facebook, the fisherman apologized because he didn’t know he was fishing in a conservation area, Apple Daily reported. The giant trevally, also known as a giant kingfish or GT, is not officially endangered but there are conservation efforts in some areas to ensure the apex predator species flourishes to the benefit of other marine life. There are no conservation efforts for the fish in Taiwan, except in specific areas where all fishing is illegal.
As the man, surnamed Shih, was fishing in a conservation area, the Pingtung County government can punish him with up to a NT$150,000 (US$4,943) fine for the catch. When he returned to harbor, he could sell the fish for about NT$70 per kg. He reportedly sold it for NT$2,380, but the buyers have not been located.
He apologized for the catch, saying that he did not know he was fishing in a conservation area. He noted that he is not a fisherman by trade and that it was only a leisure trip. He also said that despite not knowing he was fishing illegally, he will accept responsibility if authorities issue a fine or other punishment.
An official at the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium surmised that the fish in the photos was about 150 cm in length and weighed about 34 kg, while adult GTs generally grow to 160 cm and 60 kg. Marine life experts claim that the fish’s economic value is low because it is not considered a delicacy. A local chef noted that it is mostly use for soups.