In a big haul, two giant manta rays weighing 750 kg and 250 kg were caught by a fisherman who went for deep sea fishing in Mangaluru off the Malpe port on Wednesday. The fisherman, Subhash Sailan, had got on his boat Nagasiddhi on Tuesday. After he returned to the shore, a crane had to be brought in to put them in a pick up truck. The large catch had attracted the attention of many and locals gathered in the port area to witness the giant fish. Images and videos of the same had gone viral on social media and personal messaging groups.
Speaking to TNM, Yathish Baikampady, former President of the Fishermen's Association in coastal Karnataka, said, “This big catch is not too common nor is it too rare. The size may vary but they are caught fairly regularly. This happened in Malpe and not in a remote area where it would not be reported. But due to a large crowd in Malpe and due to social media, it has gone viral. The fish will be exported and is expected to fetch a handsome price. This is also the first such large haul in the port of Malpe after deep sea fishing has recently resumed post-lockdown.
According to the the NOAA Fisheries, a United States federal agency responsible for the stewardship of national marine resources, the giant manta ray is endangered. "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.
Earlier in May, 2019, a deep sea fishing boat had caught a 1200 kg stingray after spending 10 days in the sea off the same Malpe port. Stingrays are considered a delicacy among sea food connoisseurs. In Bengaluru, the fish is sold at around Rs 400 per kg.
Stingrays are part of the shark family and are also cartilaginous fish meaning they don’t have any truebones. While there are known 220 varieties of stingrays but many of them are on the verge of extinction due to unregulated deep sea fishing with 45 of them categorised as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Watch the video