Tuesday, 23 February 2010

More Manta News

Manta Ray conservation looks set to take on new meaning in coming years. I have just read a report that came to my attention after my post last week about mantas in Mozambique. This particular post was from a report by investigative blogger Andy Stokes, and you can read it here. Andy and his friend visit a shark fin wharehouse but end up investigating an apparent thriving market in gill rakers from mobula rays.

If there is anyone reading this that doubts the seriousness of the possibility that mantas and mobula can dissapear within the next generation, I would like to recount the following: I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who is a very dedicated scientist working in the amazon and also the andean highlands on a number of raptor projects. He grew up on the coast of Ecuador and recalled during our conversation how as a child he would visit the beach with his father and see the sawfish that the fishermen used to catch. He said it was not uncommnon to see numbers of sawfish. Many fisherman would have a saw bill hung up outside their door as a decoration. Today, no kind of sawfish is ever seen along the beaches of Ecuador. They are only likely ever to be found on the CITES appendix one listing or the IUCN redlist. How old is my friend? Is he 75 or 80? Sadly he is only in his early forties. Such irreverible environmental mayhem happens in the space of a few years. It may be that we are only here to witness that. To document it, and watch helpless as it happens. I would like to think not. The time to act on manta ray conservation is now, before the worst happens.

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