KARACHI - A 1.6 meter Bramble Shark was caught by fishermen off the coast of Pakistan has created a stir in the Karachi Fish Harbour which is being attributed to be a hybrid between fish and a shark. The specimen which was caught from Indus Swatch (offshore water off Indus River) was examined by WWF-Pakistan which revealed that it is a bramble shark which is scientifically known as Echinorhinus brucus.
This species is usually found in the offshore waters up to a depth of 900 m. This weird looking shark is of rare occurrence in Pakistan and reported about 8 times in the past.
It was first reported from Ormara, Balochistan in 1984 which was about 2.5m long. Because of its rare occurrence, this shark is of no commercial value. Characterised by presence of denticles on the body, this shark is purplish in colour.
Bramble shark has a wide distribution in tropical and subtropical waters of Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Ocean and also in Mediterranean Sea. In the Arabian Sea it is known from Pakistan, Oman, and India. It is comparatively rare and sluggish shark which is found in continental shelf and slopes in these countries.
Muhammad Moazzam Khan Technical Advisor (Marine Fisheries) who collected first specimen of this species from Pakistan informed that this shark feeds on a variety of food including other small sharks, fishes and crabs.
Director WWF-Pakistan Rab Nawaz considered its occurrence in Pakistan as a good indicator of biodiversity in coastal and offshore waters of Pakistan. He stressed the need for documentation of the known marine fauna and flora of Pakistan as information about marine biodiversity is highly limited. He further pointed out that a distant relative of this species i.e. pelagic stingray (Pteroplatytrygon violacea) was reported by WWF-Pakistan.