CITES CoP16: Manta Ray Proposal

Courtesy: Jennifer Hayes

Courtesy: Jennifer Hayes

Proposal 46. Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador proposed Manta rays for inclusion in Appendix II. Genus includes two species: the giant manta, Manta birostris, and the reef manta, Manta alfredi. The primary threat is unsustainable exploitation by the international trade to East Asia in their gill rakers. According to IUCN, targeted manta fisheries in Southeast Asia, India, and Eastern Africa are taking giant manta rays in “what is certain to be unsustainable numbers.”

Speaking in favor of the proposal were the USA, Australia, Liberia, Mozambique, South Africa, Qatar, and Uruguay.

Opposing the proposal were Cambodia, Japan (rejected the proposal due to the lack of peer-reviewed scientific data), and China.

FAO stated that it was unable to determine declines based on scientific data or targeted fisheries. CMS informed the Parties that M. birostris is on CMS is already on their Appendices I and II and that the Parties to that convention have already signed on to a ‘no take’ of the species. Divers for Sharks also supported the proposal noting that mantas are an iconic species highly sought by divers and the continued international trade is driving overexploitation.

Cambodia requested a secret ballot, and 10 Parties seconded the vote.  93 (80.67%) Parties voted in favor, 23 (19.33%) against, 7 absentions  The proposal passed!