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Shark Fins on Display at CITES

Shark fins and gill plates of devil and manta rays are both hot commodities on the international black market. In Asia some people use the fins to make soup, considered a delicacy. The gill plates, which help the rays filter plankton from the water, are dried and used in traditional medicine. The Pew Charitable Trusts, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, has a booth at this year’s meeting in Johannesburg of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), where they showcase real fins and gill plates from various species and explain the differences between them.