Mobulid rays in the family Mobulidae, commonly known as “devil rays”, consist of two genera; the Mobula and the Manta. Between November and June, many mobulid rays pass through the Bohol Sea, including the spine-tail devil ray (Mobula japanica), bent-fin devil ray (Mobula thurstoni), sickle-fin devil ray (Mobula tarapacana) and the iconic oceanic manta ray (Manta birostris). With the exception of the sickle-fin devil ray, these species are listed as “vulnerable” within the South East Asia region under the IUCN Red List.
Currently, these pelagic animals face significant threats in the Philippines as century-old mobula fisheries thrive on the island of Bohol. Although there is a law against targeted fishing of manta rays, they are still often caught as by-catch from mobula ray fishing, which continues to be a lucrative industry on the island.
A LAMAVE team is currently monitoring the mobula fishery in Bohol by recording daily catch and tracking fishing vessel routes to examine and address possible over fishing. One of LAMAVE’s principal goals is to work with the community to develop and promote alternative livelihoods.