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Poor Devil

Powerful and intimidating though it is, today’s Endangered All-Star, the Giant Devilray, needs a helping hand. While the species is not targeted by fishermen, it ends up caught on longlines or swordfish driftnets, an innocent victim of bycatch. And this ray is very slow to reproduce, giving birth to only a single pup—albeit a whopper, at over five feet and 35 pounds—at intervals. Part of the conservation challenge lies in how little is known about this extraordinary creature: Everything from its precise range to its current population remains a mystery. But its decline is so evident that the IUCN has listed it as Endangered. This week, the IUCN has released a new regional Mediterranean Red List section on the Giant Devilray’s ecosystem, and a helpful article, The Mediterranean: A Biodiversity Hotspot Under Threat. The press announcement reads: “From time immemorial, nature has fed us, cured us, and protected us. But today the roles have switched. We need to feed nature, we need to cure it and protect it if we want to secure a healthy and prosperous future for our children.” To help this poor devil, support the world’s oceans through groups like Oceana. Don’t eat bluefin tuna or swordfish. And whenever you’re shopping for fish or dining out, consult the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s pocket or iPhone Seafood Watch guide.
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