By Markus Makur
The manta ray is continuously being slaughtered on a number of islands in the Sawu Sea, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) as fishermen — unaware they are a protected and an engendered species — catch them and sell them in a number of regions and markets located on Flores Island. The manta ray is on the verge of extinction and can be sold for
Rp 500,000 (US$52) each.
The matter was disclosed by Flores Culture and Environmental Democracy Forum head Rofino Kant to The Jakarta Post in Borong recently.
Rofino said he had actually watched fishermen at the Borong beach cut the manta rays into pieces and sold them at the fish market in Borong.
“The fishermen claimed that they were unaware that manta rays are protected. Generally, the manta rays are caught by fishermen as they catch fish in the Sawu Sea,” said Rofino.
He expressed hope that the government, environmental groups and manta ray lovers would provide counseling to the local community living around the Sawu Sea, especially fishermen, on the importance of protecting sea species, including sharks, whales and other protected species.
Rofino said divers from across the world who visit the Sawu Sea would cry if they knew and saw the manta rays being butchered.
Manta rays are a prime attraction for divers, especially ahead of the peak event of Sail Komodo in September when many foreign visitors and participants will take part in diving activities in the Sawu Seas. More....