The US government has denied a petition brought by an environmental group to list the Giant Devil Ray as an endangered or threatened species.
Friends of Animals submitted their petition last February, asserting that the species, mostly found in the Mediterranean Sea and Northeast Atlantic, is struggling to survive amidst human development, fishing, climate change, water pollution as well as the onslaught of microplastics.
According to Jennifer Best, assistant legal director for the Friends of Animals Wildlife Law Program:
“Human activity has put the future of these fascinating, acrobatic animals in danger. This petition is a critical step to protect these animals from human exploitation and aid in their recovery.”
But this past week, the US National Marine Fisheries Service issued a notice stating:
“After reviewing the information contained in the petition, as well as information readily available in our files, we conclude that because of a recent taxonomic revision the species identified in the petition is no longer a valid concept. Therefore, the petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating the requested actions may be warranted. We note our regulations (50 CFR 424.12(g)) specify that critical habitat will not be designated within foreign countries or in areas outside the jurisdiction of the United States.”
Check out the full text of the decision here.