Pakistan

5-feet long endangered fish caught, released in sea

PASNI, Balochistan: A five-feet long spinetail mobula which entangled in fishing net was safely released into the sea by fishermen.

According to WWF, the fish ‘mobulid ray’ was caught in tuna gillnet laid down near Ras Zarrien, Pasni Balochistan on October 12, 2015.

There is international concern that mobulids are slow to mature (more than 8-10 years), are long-lived (more than 40 years) but reproduce very slowly. A manta ray will give birth to a single pup every two to five years. These rays are world renowned for their charismatic beauty, gentle behaviour, and inquisitive playful nature. For this reason, tourists spend nearly US $140 million annually to see these rays in the wild providing an important source of income to many countries.

One of the reasons for their decline is the emerging demand for ray gill plates in the traditional Chinese medicine. Although not scientifically proven to have any health benefits, the demand for gill plates has compelled fishermen in some of the countries to target mobulids. Luckily gill plates of mobulids are not exported from Pakistan, but still mobulids are regularly being caught as bycatch of gillnet fisheries in Pakistan.


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Mohammad Moazzam Khan, Technical Advisor (Marine Fisheries), WWF-Pakistan informed that  the mobula rays or mobulids include large species of fishes, closely related to sharks and sting rays. The mobulids can grow to very large size with some manta ray individuals reaching up to 9 meters wide. These fish are commonly found in the warmer, tropical of waters of the world’s oceans.


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There are six species of mobulids belong to two genus Manta and Mobula have been reported from Pakistan. Giant manta (Manta birostris) is the largest of the mobulids found in Pakistan. This species used to be of common occurrence before 1970 with some of the specimens attaining across disc breadth to be about 7 m. There were a number of records of this species either basking or leaping out of water behind Churna Island.

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