According to Manta Trust, the gill plates account for only a tiny percentage of the manta ray’s mass, but they sell for much more than the rest of the body put together. The gill plates are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine even though they are a relatively new product. There is also a lack of evidence to support claims that gill plates provide any medicinal benefits.
The video comes just in time for the March 2013 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES ) meeting – CoP16. At the meeting, activists are hoping that manta rays will get listed under Appendix II, which would require anyone looking to sell manta ray parts to get a permit.
Appendix II includes species that aren’t currently threatened with extinction, but are in danger of heading that direction unless trade is properly managed. That’s the primary message of the video: we need act now to protect manta rays before they’re lost forever.
If this is an issue that concerns you, you can sign the petition on Avaaz: Protect Manta Rays
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.