A huge manta ray fish was observed this week in Eilat’s coral bay, a rare sighting of the fish off Israel’s shores.
Omri Omasi, an inspector with Eilat’s marine unit of the Nature and Parks Authority who made the sighting, said that he has been diving for over 15 years in the area and has never seen such a big manta.
Adi Barash, a doctoral student at the University of Haifa and chairman of the Israel Shark Association, explained that the giant manta species is among the five largest cartilaginous fish.
Giant mantas usually reach a width of 4.5 meters in adulthood, but mantas over 9 meters wide have been documented as well.
Encountering a manta is the dream of every diver who enters the water, but in Eilat such an observation is rare, she explained.
The giant manta has been fished around the world due to the high value of its flesh and fins and is today defined as in a “vulnerable” state of conservation by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).