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Ending the consumption of manta ray gills in China – in pictures

Environmental NGO WildAid has launched a new campaign to end the consumption of manta ray gills in China. A report by the group estimates a tripling in the number of manta and mobula rays killed to supply gills for a so-called medicinal health tonic

Environmental NGO WildAid has launched a new campaign to end the consumption of manta ray gills in China. A report by the group estimates a tripling in the number of manta and mobula rays killed to supply gills for a so-called medicinal health tonic
Environmental NGO WildAid has launched a new campaign to end the consumption of manta ray gills in China. A report by the group estimates a tripling in the number of manta and mobula rays killed to supply gills for a so-called medicinal health tonic

In 2013 manta rays were placed on the list of species for which international trade is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in recognition of the increased threat they face around the world. Photograph: Paul Hilton

Manta and Mobula gills for sale, the dry seafood markets of Guangzhou, China. In a new report the slaes of manta and mobula gills have increased ten fold, in the last 18 months.
Gills for sale in the dry seafood markets of Guangzhou, China, where an estimated 99% of the world’s gill consumers are found. WildAid has launched a campaign including billboards, social media, TV and radio messages and news stories to inform the public of the ecological and human impacts of consuming the gills.
Manta and Mobula gills for sale, the dry seafood markets of Guangzhou, China. In a new report the slaes of manta and mobula gills have increased ten fold, in the last 18 months.
“Guangzhou has quickly become the hub of the manta ray gill trade, and our surveys suggest a surge in consumption that has more than doubled over the last three years,” said Peter Knights, executive director of WildAid. Photograph: Paul Hilton
Manta on Guangzhou market
Toxicology tests of Guangzhou market samples detected arsenic and cadmium levels far exceeding permissible limits of heavy metals in herbal medicines and foods. WildAid says these results raise concerns about the potential and significant public health risks associated with ingesting dried gills, or “peng yu sai”. Photograph: WildAid/Whitcraft
Manta rays swim through the water waters of the Komodo National Park, Indonesia
Manta rays swim through the warm waters of the Komodo national park, Indonesia. The trade in gills worth $5-10m a year is devastating populations which, in the places where it is developed, supports a tourist trade worth more than $100m a year. Photograph: Paul Hilton/Greenpeace
A mobula ray ( Mobula japanica ) is offloaded at the Tanjung Luar fish market, 27th September 2013, Lombok, Indonesia.
A mobula ray is offloaded at the Tanjung Luar fish market, Lombok, Indonesia. In Indonesia and Sri Lanka, populations have plummeted by 56% to 86%, according to a report by Wild Aid and Shark Savers. Photograph: Paul Hilton
A mobula ray takes it's last blow before it gets processed, it's gills sent to China, Sri Lanka.
A mobula ray is processed for its gills in Sri Lanka. Local fishermen might receive as little as $40 for one ray, but by the time the dried gills have reached their market in China, the price will have risen by as much as 50 times. Photograph: Paul Hilton
Villagers remove the head off a large mobula ray, before removing it's gills.
Villagers remove the head from a large mobula ray, before removing its gills. The gills are purported by Chinese medicine to clean impurities. Photograph: Paul Hilton
The estimated global landings of these rays, in 2010, were 94,000 mobula rays and 3,400 manta ray, according to WildAid.
The estimated global landings of these rays, in 2010, were 94,000 mobula rays and 3,400 manta ray, according to WildAid. Photograph: Sascha Kellershon/WildAid
Shark fins, Great white shark jaws, manta ray gills are dried in the afternoon sun, Lombok, Indonesia.
Shark fins and jaws and manta ray gills are dried in the afternoon sun in Lombok, Indonesia. Photograph: Paul Hilton
An ariel view of a oceanic manta ray in the Maldives.
A manta ray in the Maldives. Manta rays measure up to 7m in wingspan, living for 50 years. But they reproduce very slowly, meaning the killing places their survival on the line. It takes 8-10 years for a female to become sexually mature and then only one pup is born every 2-5 years. Photograph: Paul Hilton/Greenpeace