Malpe: A fisherman who went deep-sea fishing off the Malpe port on Wednesday, caught two giant manta rays- one weighing 750 kg and the other weighing 250 kgs.
Scores of people gathered to catch a glimpse of the magnificent catch in the port area and images and videos of the haul went viral on social media platforms.
The manta rays were caught by Subhash Salian, who went fishing on his boat Nagasiddhi on Tuesday. Upon his return, a crane had to be called in to lift and transfer the rays to a pick-up truck.
Former president of the Fishermen's Association Yathish Baikampady told TNM that the this was not a common catch, while also not being a rare one. "The size of the ray may vary but they are caught fairly regularly," he said, adding that the reason the incident has gone viral is because it occurred in Malpe, which is not in a remote area.
"The fish will be exported and are expected to fetch a good price," he said, adding that this is the first time since deep-sea fishing was allowed post-lockdown that there has been such large haul at the Malpe port.
Meanwhile, United States federal agency NOAA Fisheries has said that the giant manta ray is an endangered species. "The giant manta ray is the world’s largest ray with a wingspan of up to 29 feet. They are filter feeders and eat large quantities of zooplankton. Giant manta rays are slow-growing, migratory animals with small, highly fragmented populations that are sparsely distributed across the world. The main threat to the giant manta ray is commercial fishing, with the species both targeted and caught as bycatch in a number of global fisheries throughout its range," NOAA says, according to a report by TNM.
Stingrays belong to the shark family and are also cartilaginous fish, which means that they have no truebones. Many of the 220 known varieties of stingrays are on the verge of extinction due to unregulated deep sea fishing. As many as 45 varieties are categorised as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
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