Wetpixel Senior Moderator, Shawn Heinrichs, has penned an article entitled “Manta Rays Under Attack-Will CITES Save the Manta Ray”, about the ongoing killing of manta rays in order to satisfy the demand for their gills for use in an obscure psuedo-medicinal remedy call Peng Yu Sai. This is a soup consisting of boiled manta gills, seahorses and pipefish that is prescribed to treat fevers, chickenpox, and heat in the body. Heinrichs labels this as “endangered species soup”. He also surmises that the overexploitation of sharks for shark fin has driven the traders to seek alternative sources of revenue, in this case, manta rays.
Brazil, Ecuador, and Columbia have requested that manta rays be added to the CITES list under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) at the next meeting, due to be held in March 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. Although the CMS listing is a recognition of a species’ vulnerability, it is still not legally binding.