Sharks in the Philipines: Mobula Ray Story

Stamps Howard,
Kala Mulqueeny

Shark Mobula Rays in the Philippines

Horror stories of shark and ray finning abound. Here is one person's story of finning of Mobula Rays, which are an unprotected species within the Philippines. WARNING: The photos get very graphic.

My Story:

I had a cold hard dose of reality when we joined the local fishermen for their daily hauling of their fishing nets. The traditional method is called "Lambaklad", where deep fish traps wait about 100m offshore to collect the unfortunate fish that get caught. On this regular morning, the catch included a few tuna, baracuda, sardines, jackfish, squid, a sea horse, and 5 majestic rays.

We all thought they were manta rays, and I stood helpless as they hauled them in along with their catch, and even butchered one alive to share amongst themselves. The rest are sold in the market for only P40/kg. It was my first time to see rays this big. I didn't imagine it would be this way. As confirmed by experts, these are Mobula rays, a close relative to the elusive Manta ray, that unfortunately, are not protected by Philippine laws due to insufficient data about the species population. That doesn't change the fact that this act should be stopped.

This happens everyday, and it's absolutely normal in this fishing town. The sad reality is, there were hardly any fish left in the catch. There are no laws on effective and sustainable fishing in the area either. All I could do was cry, and take these painful photos. I'm sharing them with you all so you know where your food comes from. WARNING: The photos get really morbid. ~ Mika Sandtoes

Photos Below


The Philippines is known as the center of marine biodiversity, having 2/3s of the known marine species in the Pacific living in its costal waters. Sharks, as predators of the sea, play a vital role in regulating the ecological balance, particularly the health of important commercial fish species, population balance, and protection of coral reefs. As such, our country plays a crucial role in protecting marine species.


Perhaps the best overview of the situation can be found in

Senate Bill 2616

which has been pending in the Philippine senate since 2010:

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