Eid Sulaiman with his catch. Image Credit: Supplied

Fujairah: The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is investigating reports of a 347kg bull shark that was caught by an Emirati fisherman 64km off the coast of Fujairah on February 16.

Eid Sulaiman, 49, was fishing off a boat with his friend Jumaa Salem and two Indian sailors when the incident occurred. He was using a traditional hand line and hook when the shark first bit, but then it took from 12 noon until 3.30pm and help from 17 of his friends, who were also fishing in nearby boats, to bring the massive shark aboard.

“I had the usual tool to catch fish, not sharks, so it was difficult to pull it in,” Sulaiman told Gulf News. “The process took a lot of time and effort and I was scared the fishing line might break. I carefully pulled it on my own until the shark reached the side of the boat, then my colleagues helped me pull it onto the boat.”

Sulaiman and his friends caught the shark because it was eating their catch.

“I used live bait and the shark came close to it, then I pulled the hook using a traditional hand line.”

However, Sulaiman’s actions could land him in trouble as the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment says that the shark was caught during the annual five-month ban, which is intended to protect the species. Sulaiman’s fishing licence could now be scratched for six months.

“When the authorities heard about the incident, they contacted me and asked me about it,” Sulaiman said. “They claimed the shark had been caught during the period of a ban on fishing, which is designed to protect them. I checked with the Fisherman’s Association in Fujairah as well as the auction section to inquire about the ministry’s ban, but they told me they didn’t know anything about any ban and hadn’t been given any instructions by the ministry. That’s why I took the shark to auction.”

The 347kg shark, which spanned three metres, was sold for Dh2,900 at the auction.

Sulaiman said there was some confusion about the time of the ban on fishing.