Researchers in Indonesia are studying the survival rate of manta rays and devil rays released after being caught unintentionally by fishers. The study, which has so far tagged five of the animals with satellite trackers, aims to come up with best practices to boost the survival of these threatened rays. Populations of mantas and devils rays, from the genus Mobula, have been hit by the global trade of their parts, particularly their gills, for traditional medicine and food. JAKARTA — Researchers in Indonesia are working to identify the best practices for safely releasing threatened manta rays and devil rays that are caught alive unintentionally by fishers. Populations of these large rays from the genus Mobula have been devastated in recent years by targeted and bycatch fisheries in Indonesia amid growing local demand for their meat and international demand for parts like gills for traditional Chinese medicine. The significant population decline prompted the government in 2014 to ban the intentional capture and trade of mantas, but not of devil rays. “The question now is that when a ray is caught alive and the conservation effort is to release it back, what is actually the survival rate when it’s released back […]

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