Conservation through Research, Awareness and Education

UK Registered Charity Number: 1145387

Welcome to the Maldivian Manta Ray Project

The Maldivian Manta Ray Project was established in 2005 by British marine biologist and the Manta Trust founder Guy Stevens.  Guy began working in the Maldives in 2003 and spent his first 18 months in the country on a dive live aboard.  During this time Guy was seeing mantas all around the country and his curiosity about these amazing creatures grew… 

Desperate to know more about why and where these animals were found Guy looked to other marine biologists in the Maldives and around the world and found a shocking scarcity of information and research being done on these animals.  In 2005 the MMRP was born and became one of very first manta research projects around the world and the flagship project of the Manta Trust.

Chain Feeding Mantas at Landaa Giraavaru, Baa Atoll.

The aims of the Maldivian Manta Ray Project  (MMRP) when it was established were to characterise the population of manta rays in the Maldives.  Big aims, but with so little known about mantas we there were a lot of questions to answer especially learning more about the life cycle, population dynamics and habitat usage of the Maldives manta population.  To achieve these aims the project has worked closely with the Maldivian government, tourists, local communities, volunteers, students and tour operators to create greater awareness and protection for these graceful rays and their habitat.

Manta feeding at night in the Maldives.

To date we have documented over 2,300 different individual mantas with the numbers growing all the time as we expand our study areas.  We have provided vital support in the designation and management of new Marine Protected Areas in the Maldives and most recently our main study site Hanifaru Bay was designated as a core area in the Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve which came into being in July 2011.

Unlike some of our other projects, mantas in the Maldives are not threatened by fishing with an export ban on ray products having been in place since 1995 which has served to protect mantas in Maldivian waters.  However, knowledge we are able to gain on the mantas in the Maldives is essential in understanding the species and forming conservation and management solutions for mantas all around the world.

There’s always lots going on out in the Maldives each year we take on volunteers to work with us and we have a host of different experts joining us each season, alongside film crews and tourists who we try to educate and inform during their stay in the Maldives.  Follow us on here to learn more about the work we do.  If you want to know more email guy@mantatrust.org or katie@mantatrust.org

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