This is the Great Fiji SHARK Count; why are we counting Rays?
Sharks and rays are very close cousins; indeed, Angel Sharks or Guitarfish, look as though they are half way between the two.
Sharks and rays are all CHONDRICHTHYES, which is to say that they have skeletons made out of cartilage instead of bone (in the human body, cartilage makes up the “bendy’ part of the nose, as well as other parts of our skeleton that are less easy to see).
They also all have rough scale-less skin, and 5 or 6 gill slits on each side of the head, instead of one gill opening like most other fish.
Rays suffer from the same overfishing pressures as sharks, and their flesh is often used as fake “scallops” and in “crab sticks”.
Like sharks, you usually only see one or two rays at a time, so conventional small scale scientific surveys do not record many of them, and .they are best counted in a large-scale “Citizen Science” count.
Including rays in with their cousins the sharks will provide data on these species about which very little is known.
Manta – Ray of Hope takes the viewer on a breathtaking journey to some of the most remote and exotic places on earth, to personally experience the magnificence of these rays. Through the eyes of naturalists and researchers, the people who know these animals best, we begin to unravel the mysteries of the manta. We experience their joy of new discoveries and also their pain, watching mantas they know fished in front of their very eyes. We then go deep undercover, from the remote fishing villages to the bustling cities, to better understand and expose the trade that is threatening their very future. And, we challenge the medicinal health ‘claims’ that are driving this destructive trade. Finally, as a ray of hope, we meet those who are making a difference, from scientists, to politicians, to local businessmen, and learn how we all can make a difference for these magical creatures too.
|Bluespotted ribbontail ray (brown)
|Bluespotted stingray (grey)
|Reef Manta Ray
|Spotted eagle ray
|Giant reef ray