Mangled Manta Rays Wash Up On Gaza Beach

Hundreds of mangled Manta Rays washed up on a Gaza beach — much to the confusion of local residents.

While fishermen in the area aren’t too upset about the more than 200 Manta Rays washed up on shore, local Palestinians are worried about the amount of the creatures that washed up dead.

Local Palestinians have seen small amounts of Manta Rays wash ashore during spring but never in the numbers they saw this week, reports The New York Daily News.

One fisherman, Eyad Almadoun, explained of the phenomenon:

“The fish come every March, but this is the first time we have seen them in six years … Yesterday, 220 of the fish washed up on the Gaza shore and God willing tomorrow there will be more.”

Despite the strange occurrence, fishermen are still celebrating. Manta Ray meat can sell for six or seven shekels (about $1 to 2) per kilogram.

Local fishermen have started hauling the Manta Rays off to local fish markets where they have helped produce a small economic boom for them.

The Daily Mail notes that Bob Rubin of Santa Rosa Junior College in California,stated that the fish tend to travel in huge schools together. They appeared to have blood on the tips of their “wings,” meaning that they slapped something, whether it was a boat, rocks, or even each other.

Manta Rays can grow up to 25 feet wide. They are broad, thing, cartilaginous fish. Some of the fish that washed up on the Gaza beach were about six feet wide. Manta Rays are thought to be vulnerable to extinction. Female manta rays also only produce one offspring. They typically have offspring once every two years.

It is not clear if more of the Manta Rays will wash up on the beach or how they died.

[Image via ShutterStock]