A review of mobulid ray interactions with fisheries for tuna and tuna-like species in the Indian Ocean
Manta and devil rays (Mobula spp.) are threatened globally, primarily from fishing pressure, with all Indian Ocean species reported to be in decline (Bizzarro et al., 2009; Marshall et al., 2018; Marshall, Barreto, Bigman, Carlson, D. Fernando, Fordham, Francis, Herman, Jabado, Liu, Pardo, Rigby, Romanov and Walls, 2019; Marshall, Barreto, Bigman, Carlson, D. Fernando, Fordham, Francis, Herman, Jabado, Liu, Pardo, Rigby, Romanov, Smith, et al., 2019; Marshall, Barreto, Carlson, Fernando, Fordham, Francis, Herman, Jabado, Liu, Pacoureau, et al., 2019; Marshall, Barreto, Carlson, Fernando, Fordham, Francis, Herman, Jabado, Liu, Rigby, et al., 2019). Mobulids are large, mobile marine animals that can cover vast areas of ocean (Jaine et al., 2014; Thorrold et al., 2014). To be able to effectively mitigate the impacts of fishing, we need to understand their spatial and temporal ecology, including the factors governing their distribution, and how they interact with fisheries. While there has been a global increase in research and data on mobulid rays in recent years, our knowledge of their ecology and distribution in the Indian Ocean and interactions with pelagic tuna and tuna-like fisheries is still relatively limited and there remain key gaps in our understanding of their oceanic habitats and interactions with the physical environment (Stewart et al., 2018). This study represents the first attempt to explore mobulid interactions across many of the major tuna fleets operating in the Indian Ocean based on a newly collated observer dataset managed by the IOTC. This study aims to review the available observer information to identify spatial and temporal hotspots and analyse trends in interactions with the different fisheries in operation across the Indian Ocean to support the conservation and management of these species.