Our Living Seas

Manta Rays

SOCORRO ISLANDS

Manta rays are the world's largest rays. They feed on zooplankton, are completely harmless, and do not have a stinging barb. They are naturally preyed upon by large sharks and killer whales. The Manta's greatest threat is exploitation and accidental by-catch. Thousands of Mantas are being killed to supply Asian markets with dried gill plates for use in Chinese traditional medicines. They are protected in international waters by the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS). The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declared Manta birostris to be vulnerable, with an elevated risk of extinction, in November, 2011. The Manta can only survive through research, education, conservation, and pressure on markets exploiting this majestic creature. I cannot envision the world without them. The Manta Pacific Research Foundation (www.mantapacific.org) conducts scientific research, provides educational programs for the public and promotes global Manta Ray conservation.