We have come to respect and appreciate Brian Darvells "on the ground" reports of continuing Asian demand for sharks. This week he added a comment to Goblin Girls post that was shocking in it's detail.
Mantas are in trouble. Here's his first person report:
The Chinese slaughter mantas in their thousands for their gill rakers for use in traditional 'medicine'.
The largest Chinese medicine market in China, in Guangzhou - a whole block of shops on three floors of the most amazing things. These included literally tonnes of dried seahorses - shops-full at a time, and similarly manta gills, 10s of thousands that I saw - boxes piled high.
This is NOT a small, subsistence market, by any means. It is a massive, commercial operation that somehow has evaded notice. It can be added to the foul practices of using bear bile, tiger bone, seahorses etc etc for the magical, culturally-sanctioned, devastation of wildlife of all kinds. If it moves - eat it.
It is about time that the centrality of Chinese activity in these matters was addressed properly, instead of pussyfooting around trying not to offend. Culture or long tradition is no longer an acceptable defence for anything, anywhere, now where commercial exploitation is involved. True subsistence use is hard to find, and altogether negligible in impact.