Manta rays are some of the most beautiful and eloquent fish in the ocean, but also one of the most threatened. Harvested for their skin, cartilage, and gill rakers in traditional Chinese medicine, these cartilaginous species are subject to overfishing, bycatch, and a range of other threats.
This must-see video below highlights one of these very threats: entanglement in fishing gear. In this video, two divers can be seen swimming off Costa Rica’s Bat Islands when the distressed manta ray seemingly approaches them. Fortunately, the divers were able to remove the fishing line, and enjoyed a nice half hour dive with the manta ray after it was set free.
Both species of manta rays, the giant manta (Manta birostris) and reef manta (Manta alfredi), gained international protection earlier this month under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix II. These protections limit their global trade and work to keep the species from being overexploited.
You can learn about Oceana’s effort to protect marine wildlife by limit bycatch and promoting responsible fishing here. Take a look below to catch a glimpse of this amazing rescue.