Intense fishing in the southwest Atlantic, particularly around the coast of Brazil has led to declines in spiny butterfly ray populations. In 23 years, the percentage of trawl catches has reduced by an estimated 99 percent (1).
The spiny butterfly ray is less threatened in US waters, where fishing levels are are lower. However, in the Mediterranean Sea, there is much higher demand for the spiny butterfly ray’s meat. It is now so rare in the Mediterranean, the spiny butterfly ray has been absent from the Mediterranean International Trawl Survey (MEDITS) records since they began in 1994 (1).
Along the coast of West Africa, large mesh bottom gillnets are used to target the spiny butterfly ray in huge numbers. Even in protected marine areas, the average size of caught spiny butterfly rays has reduced as larger adults from the population are removed (1).