Huge Haul: arrest made in Bali over 100kg of manta ray gills

May 23, 2016
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More than 100 kilograms of illicit manta ray gills were hauled in by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KPP) yesterday. 

In Indonesia, manta rays are protected by the state, so fishing them is illegal. Gills of manta rays are commonly illegally used for traditional drugs, because they are believed to contain certain medicinal properties, but there is no apparent medical research backing that up. The meat can supposedly be shredded or used for jerky. 

The gills were secured in a Jembrana resident’s home in West Loloan Village. The arrest over the gills was reported as the largest of three similar cases in different locations over the years. At an alleged amount of 103 kilograms of dried manta gills, that would translate into the gills of 77 manta rays. 

Investigators also allegedly found possible traces of shark fins. However, it has not led to a further investigation because the focus at the moment is on manta rays.

Agus Wijaya Situmorang with KPP says if sold abroad, gils can be sold at the price of IDR1.7 million per kilogram. If convicted, the perpetrator is facing a possible six years in prison with a fine of up to IDR1.5 billion, said Situmorang to Tribun Bali. 

The arrest was based on a report of the Monitoring Directorate of Fisheries, as well as related developments in other prior locations: Surabaya and Ciregon in Java. 

Following this arrest, officials say they will pay closer attention to illicit manta ray fishing in this area, a hot spot for manta migration when they go through the Strait of Bali. 

Indonesia’s manta population has been decreasing at an alarming rate. Within the last 10 years, the population has lost a reported 33 to 57 percent. Indonesian waters are supposed to be one of the largest sanctuaries in the world for manta rays. 

Photo: Flickr

Source: Tribun Bali

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