Palestinian fishermen collected manta rays after they washed up on a beach along the coast of Gaza City on Sunday.
“These manta rays have been washing up for years now,” Bashir Shuwaikh, a fisherman, said.
“Every year, a large quantity of these fish wash up since it’s currently their season. Each boat carries between 20 and 30 of this fish. They come out for the duration of a month approximately and we catch them daily, as long as the weather is warm,” he explained.
Manta rays are considered ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which categorises them in its red list. Their primary threat is overfishing.
While their meat is unpopular, their gills are often used to filter plankton and in Chinese medicine.
“People love them very much. Today I sold one in the Maghazi market, while others [fishermen] took two, three or four [manta rays]. Each fisherman takes as much as he can sell at the market he frequents.” Shuwaikh said.