Divers Riding Whale Shark Arrested, Susi Pudjiastuti Says
1 January 1970 07:00 WIB
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said the police had arrested the divers who took pictures while riding a whale shark in West Papua's Cendrawasih Bay. The case is directly monitored by National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian.
"It happened that Tito Karnavian is also a member of the National Sea Guides (Pandu Laut Nusantara)," Susi said at the University of Indonesia (UI) in Depok on Monday, August 13.
According to Susi, the first report about the photos came from Pandu Laut Nusantara. And last week, a video went viral, showing divers touching and tugging a whale shark; enticing negative reactions in social media.
Cassandra Tania, a marine species officer from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF Indonesia), said it was dangerous to be near a whale shark. She said that the animal had rough and sharp skin that could scratch the human skin.
"They are also large in size, which could be dangerous if they accidentally bump into humans," she told Tempo last week.
The act seen in the video and pictures may also harm the endangered animal, which is a protected species as stipulated in the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister's Decree No.18/2013.
Cassandra lamented about how the tour operator and guides failed to provide ample information about how divers should behave near whale sharks. "We regret the lack of professionalism of the tour guide," he said.
IRSYAN HASYIM (CONTRIBUTOR)