Manta Rays are in danger of being extinct. They are often caught in fishermen’s net or used for traditional medicine and food.
In 2004, manta rays were identified by the Convention on International trade in Endangered Species as a group associated with severe depletion.
The government of the Philippines has made it illegal to capture and kill mantras but thereafter lifted the ban.
It lists their local stock of manta rays as “near threatened”.
Such rays are in demand in the Asian restaurants, especially in high-consumption societies like Hong Kong.
Demand for its dried gill rakers for use as traditional medicine has also increased.
For example, the skin, meat and gill rakers of a mature Indonesian manta sell for up to HK$125.
In traditional medicine, these gill rakers are believed to be able to reduce toxins in the blood by purifying and cooling processes.
Manta rays are found in both temperate and tropical areas.
If they are not given some form of protection, they may soon be endangered.
Especially since there is a lucrative market in the richer regions of East Asia for those caught in Southeast Asia.
Hilton, Paul, “There is a catch” dated 19 April 2009 in the postmagazine (HK: South China Morning Post), 2009, pp. 22-26.