Fishing for devil rays

  • Rays & Skates
Years funded
  • 2013, 2014
  • Archived
Project type
  • Research

Slow-breeding manta and mobula rays are easily over-fished. Liliana is conducting the first study of mobulid fishing in Peru – a vital step to ensuring these species’ survival in the region.

Fishing for devil rays

Liliana Ayala

Project leader
About the project leader
Callao is the principal harbour of Peru, a country with the good fortune to have its coast washed by the productive Humboldt Current, which supports the anchovy fishery, one of the most important of its kind in the world. It was in Callao that I was born, and where my first childhood memory is of being on a boat with my parents and sister one Sunday in summer. The waters were calm that sunny morning as a sea breeze played around us. In those days it was the custom to eat fresh fish every day and I learned about the...
Project details

First assessment of Manta and Mobula Rays fishery in Peru

Key objective

This project will assess the composition, distribution, sex ratio, sizes, investment, profits and markets of the mobulid rays (Mobulidae) fishery on the northern coast of Peru through interviews and observations in ports.

Why is this important

We need to know the size of this fishery in order to inform authorities and establish strategies to manage it. This project will assess the species, gear characteristics, quantities, ports and seasons in which fishermen are catching mobulid rays.


Among elasmobranchs, the relationship between body size and range size is a good predictor of a species susceptibility to extinction. Mobulidae are zooplanktivorous elasmobranchs comprising two recognised species of manta rays (Manta spp.) and nine recognised species of devil rays (Mobula spp.). Manta birostris is one of the species in this group most prone to extinction in the tropical eastern Pacific. There are some reports of Mobulid catches in Tumbes (northern Peru) during all months of 2011. A total of 111.4 tonnes has been registered here. This is more than the Mobulid catches in Ecuador during 2009, before the Ministry Agreement 093-2010, when 83 tonnes were reported in two ports.

Aims & objectives
  • Identify the species of manta and mobula rays caught by Peruvian fisheries and their distribution
  • Collect biological and fisheries data
  • Identify markets, investment and profits of the manta and mobula ray trade
  • Recommend strategies for management and conservation of manta and mobula rays.