Devil fish, Giant Devil ray

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 Devil ray

Sustainability rating five info

Sustainability overview

Classified as Endangered by the IUCN. They have been heavily exploited and their populations take a very long time to repair (because they grow slowly, mature at a late age and produce very few young). Because of this, they are automatically a red-rated species.


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

Criterion score: 1 info

Stock Area

All Areas

Stock information

Devil rays are listed as Endangered by IUCN (2015). Their have declined by 50% over three generations (60 years). More research is needed on their exploitation, distribution, biology and ecology, especially since Devil ray’s gestation period is a whole year long and they only produce one pup every two to three years.

Due to its low population, this species is automatically red-rated.


Criterion score: 1 info

As of April 2017, the Giant Devil Ray has received increased protection and is listed as a CITES Annex II species. One of the most significant threats to the species is the pelagic driftnets in the Mediterranean Governments have banned them but this has proven difficult to enforce and unregulated fishing has continued on a large scale. Greater protection and enforcement is needed to ensure the species can rebuild.

Capture Information

Criterion score: 1 info

Devil rays are 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”. Unfortunately, devil rays are sold for medicinal uses.


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.

Halibut, Atlantic (Farmed)
Halibut, Pacific
Sole, Dover sole, Common sole
Sole, Lemon
Turbot (Caught at sea)
Turbot (Farmed)


Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Serena, F. & Mancusi, C. 2015. Mobula mobular. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T39418A48942228.

Shark Trust; 2010. An Illustrated Compendium of Sharks, Skates, Rays and Chimaera: Giant Devil Ray. Available at:

International Fund for Animal Welfare. 2016. Appendix II Listing for Devil Rays for more protection at CITES. Available at: