Saturday, September 06, 2014

Killing Manta Rays - Paper!

Worth much more alive than dead (and here!). Source.

Great paper!

But first.
You harvest what you have sown and planted - not Manta Rays, and not their gill rakers.
Call it killing, or fishing, even hunting - because that's what it is. And the gill rakers are being cut out, extracted or gathered.
Words are important.

Anyway, the main conclusion is this.
Emphasis is mine.
Notwithstanding the current uncertainty in the life history of manta rays, given their very low productivity coupled with small localized populations and predictable seasonal aggregations, the unregulated targeting of local Manta populations for their high-value gill plates is unlikely to be sustainable. 
The largest targeted fisheries and highest mortality occurs in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Peru and Mozambique and these countries have little fisheries monitoring, regulation or effective enforcement. 

The time to local extinction depends on the size of the population and the rate of fishing mortality. The very low productivity of manta rays mean that even a moderate level of fishing mortality of F = 0.2 (survival = 0.81) would reduce a small population of 100 individuals to fewer than 10 within less than a generation span (11 years). The key challenge this poses is that it leaves little time to mount an effective conservation management response. 

These serial depletion fisheries are operated by low-income subsistence coastal fishers, often against a backdrop of declining fish stocks. For such fishers the international market demand for valuable Manta and mobulid ray gill plates is likely to provide a desirable income. Such fisheries tend to be unregulated and even if there are protections these are difficult to enforce, which underscores the importance of international trade regulation. 
Paper here!

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