Off the coast of Karnataka, fishermen come across a massive 750 kilogram manta ray.

The immense journey had attracted the interest of numerous people, which led the locals to gather in the vicinity of the port to witness the colossal fish. On Wednesday, a fisherman doing deep sea fishing off Malpe port in Mangaluru successfully caught two huge manta rays, weighing 750kg and 250kg.

The fisherman, Subhash Sailan, had boarded his Nagasiddhi boat on Tuesday. After it returned to shore, a crane had to be brought in to load them onto a van. The large catch had caught the attention of many and locals gathered in the port area to witness the giant fish. Images and videos of it had gone viral on social media and personal message groups.

Giant manta ray weighing 750 kg caught by fisherman in Malpe off Karnataka coast

Speaking to TNM, Yathish Baikampad, former president of the Karnataka Coastal Fishermen’s Association, said: “This big catch is not too common and not too rare. The size can 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 huge crowd in Malpe and due to social media, it has gone viral. The fish will be exported and is expected to fetch a good price. This is also the first major tour of its kind in Malpe Harbor after deep sea fishing recently resumed after lockdown.

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According to NOAA Fisheries, a US federal agency responsible for managing the nation’s marine resources, the giant manta ray is threatened with extinction. “The giant manta ray is the largest stingray in the world with a wingspan of up to 29 feet. They are filter feeders and eat large amounts of zooplankton. Giant manta rays are slow-growing migratory animals with small, highly fragmented populations that are sparsely distributed throughout the world. The main threat to the giant manta ray is commercial fishing, with the species both targeted and bycatch in a number of global fisheries throughout its range,” says NOAA.

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In early May 2019, a 1,200 kg stingray was caught by a deep-sea fishing boat after spending 10 days at sea off the same port of Malpe. Stingrays are considered a delicacy among seafood connoisseurs. In Bangalore, the fish sells for around Rs 400 per kg.

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Rays are part of the shark family and are also cartilaginous fish, which means they do not have true bones. While 220 varieties of rays are known, many of them are on the brink of extinction due to unregulated high-seas fishing, with 45 of them classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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