The number of manta rays that exist worldwide is unknown. They used to be hunted commercially for their liver oil and skin. The hunters would kill them by harpooning them from small boats in eastern Australia and the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California). Today, they continue to be hunted in Mexico, Indonesia, and the Philippines, where their meat is considered a delicacy. Heavy fishing in Mexico has caused manta populations to collapse. Additionally, fishing efforts in the Philippines have been growing in the past decade enabling local markets to expand to national and international market places. There is an increasing concern about the sustainability of such a fishery. Hunters who are economically dependent on the fishery refute any conservation measures to limit the fishery.
The over-fishing of Manta Ray's in Indonesia has put the animal into near endangerment. An estimated 1,500 manta rays have been taken over a period of six months in Lamakera. There is an increased fear that this harvesting could spread to the Western Pacific. The life history characteristics of manta rays and most elasmobranches (slow growth, delayed ages of sexual maturity, low fecundity, long gestation periods) make them particularly vulnerable to overfishing.
I urge you to reinforce a law to stop or limit this and save our Manta Ray's.
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