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The destruction of manta and mobula ray populations are the result of demand for their gills. The gills are used as a "health tonic" to treat a wide range of aliments and the primary destination is driven by direct marketing in China. The gill raker remedy is not listed in the official Traditional Chinese Medicine manual, but it is still being used as a medicinal tonic, regardless.
Intensive overfishing of mantas and mobulas for the trade in their gill rakers are driving mantas and mobulas to the point of population collapse. They could face regional extinctions because of unregulated fisheries. The trade in gill rakers continues in several ranges, with the largest landings documented in Sri Lanka, India, and Indonesia.
There are devastating and rapid declines in populations in every area with active fisheries against the manta and mobula rays; they have already disappeared from The Sea of Cortez.
Establish trade bans and sanctuaries for manta and mobula ray populations. Don't let these animals follow the same path to extinction as sharks face for their fins.
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