The Unexpected Manta Rays

La Paz Group

Manta Ray (Manta birostris) at Hin Muang, Thailand. “Neon Fusilier & Manta Ray” by Jon Hanson, via Wikimedia.

We’re no stranger to the benefits of manta rays, especially with contributor Phil Karp’s writings on the subject. The accidental catch of a giant oceanic manta ray (we’re talking about a fish that can weigh up to two tons!) in the northern coast of Peru resulted in the passing of a new law that will significantly help the preservation of this endangered species. On December 31, 2015 the Peruvian government passed a resolution that bans manta fishing and requires the immediate release of mantas that are accidentally caught as “bycatch.”

It’s not unusual for manta rays to get tangled in nets or fishing lines. But rays are also deliberately targeted for their meat and gills plates, which filter out plankton as they swim. The gill plates are considered a culinary…

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