It’s sometimes easy to forget that Jakarta is actually a coastal city, one that extends out into the sea thanks to the Thousand Islands and the Bay of Jakarta. Many Jakartans still make their livings as fishermen and many oppose the Jakarta Bay Reclamation project as they fear it will destroy their livelihoods.
While the number of fish in Jakarta Bay may already be decreasing due to the project (not to mention pollution), it certainly hasn’t scared off all of them, as evidenced by this video of an astonished cargo boat crew encountering a giant whale shark, a member of the largest living species of fish, while they were sailing to Cipir island on Sunday.
The chief environmental officer for the Thousand Islands, Yusen Hardiman, said the whale shark was sighted between Island H (one of the newly created reclamation islands) and Muara Kamal at around 9 am.
Dharmadi, a researcher at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries specializing in sharks and rays, said the whale shark’s presence in Jakarta Bay was quite rare but not unprecedented.
“I suspect, the presence of whale sharks was because of the food,” Dharmadi told Detik, adding that whale sharks usually stay in deep waters but often go into shallower areas in search of food, mainly plankton and small fish, which can be dangerous if they get stuck somewhere during low tide.
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