The captain of a Taiwan fishing vessel will face a fine after failing to report the capture and deaths of 2 giant manta rays, which are listed as a vulnerable species by International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Photos of the bloodied carcases of the manta rays laid on the ground at a fish market in Kaohsiung began to circulate on social media January 1, and were widely reported in Taiwan’s media January 3.
Police interviewed the owner of a Facebook page to identify the port and fishing vessel. This morning at 3:30am, police raided a fishing boat. The captain confessed that he had accidentally caught the rays.
Under a law enacted May 2016, giant manta ray catches must be reported to relevant authorities. Failure to do so may result in a fine of between $30,000NTD-$150,000NTD.
Giant manta rays are protected in international waters by the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals. In some countries they are hunted for their gill-rakes, which are used in Chinese medicine.
Although not native to Taiwan, mantas are known to follow the kuroshio current which flows off Taiwan’s east coast.