They’re easy targets. Moving slowly through the ocean, often in predictable aggregations – these gentle, filter-feeding giants are being slaughtered at an alarming rate.
International trade in these species, driven by Asian markets for Chinese medicine, poses an immediate threat to their survival. Catch of mantas reported to the Food and Agriculture Organization has almost quadrupled in seven years.
Demand for the manta rays’ gill rakers – the tight-knit, feathery structures that strain plankton – has recently surged, placing manta populations in grave danger. Mantas have been classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). With gill rakers fetching a one-time payout of $500 per kilogram for a pseudo-medicinal product, is it really worth the destruction?
Stop the Madness
Scuba divers around the world can play a special role in being part of the solution:
- In 2011, Project AWARE and our partners succeeded in protecting mantas under the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). Make a donation today to ensure that Project AWARE continues critical work to protect mantas and their close relatives the devil rays this time under Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – the world’s largest, most effective wildlife conservation agreement.
- Sign the petition to send a clear message to policy makers around the world that scuba divers expect effective long-term shark and ray protection measures.