Devil fish, Giant Devilray

Mobula mobular

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — All applicable methods
Capture area — Mediterranean (FAO 37)
Stock area — All Areas
Stock detail — All Areas
Picture of Devil fish, Giant Devilray

Sustainability rating five info

Sustainability overview

This fish has a very low reproductive capacity (giving birth to a single huge pup at unknown intervals) and its geographic range is probably limited to offshore deepwaters of the Mediterranean (and possibly adjoining North Atlantic waters). Classified as Endangered by IUCN - The World Conservation Union.

Biology

This huge plankton-feeding ray is the largest of the genus Mobula. It has a very low reproductive capacity (giving birth to a single huge pup at unknown intervals) and its geographic range is probably limited to offshore deep waters of the Mediterranean (and possibly adjoining North Atlantic waters). Like all mobulids, the Giant Devil ray is an epipelagic batoid feeding on planktonic crustaceans and small schooling fishes, which are trapped on its specialised branchial filter plates. In the Mediterranean a likely important prey item for the Giant Devil ray is the euphasiid shrimp Meganyctiphanes norveggica. Mobulids are aplacental viviparous matrotroph rays, in that the pups receive their nourishment from uterine milk.

Stock information

Stock Area

All Areas

Stock information

Given high bycatch mortality, its limited reproductive capacity and range Mobula mobular is listed as Endangered by IUCN - The World Conservation Union (2015). In particular, catch data are required, and stock assessments should be undertaken where the species is fished. The population is suspected to be decreasing with 50% of its population reduced over three generations (60 years). More research is needed on its exploitation, distribution, biology and ecology especially given that the species is particularly vulnerable and slow to rebuild due to the fact that it only reproduces with one pup at a time.

Management

The Giant Devil Ray is included in the Annex II list of endangered or threatened species to the Protocol concerning Special Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean of the Barcelona Convention, which came into force in 2001. The Mediterranean has a wide ban on the use of pelagic driftnets which are one of the most significant threats to the species but it has proved difficult to enforce this rule and the unregulated fishing has continued on a large scale, further reducing the Giant Devil Ray's populations.

Capture Information

It is taken as bycatch on longlines, in swordfish pelagic driftnets, purse seines, trawls and in fixed tuna traps, to unsustainable levels. The species is sometimes landed and marketed. In some areas, such as the Gaza Strip, Giant Devil rays can be landed in mass catches, particularly in purse seine fisheries called "shinshula".

Alternatives

Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Dab
Halibut, Atlantic (Farmed)
Halibut, Pacific
Megrim
Plaice
Sole, Dover sole, Common sole
Turbot (Farmed)

References

IUCN Red List http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/39418/0

www.sharktrust.org/shared/downloads/factsheets/giant_devil_ray_st_factsheet.pdf