our achievements through research
Our Maldivian Manta Ray Project played a key role in gaining protection for manta rays in the Republic of Maldives.
Data it collected identified an increase in pressure and threats to mantas from unrestricted tourism growth and local development, and led to the government declaring Hanifaru Bay a Marine Protected Area in 2009. Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll is an important aggregation site for reef manta rays and whale sharks.
We contributed critical data and expertise for the re-assessment to “Vulnerable”status of both species of manta on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2011.
Following this re-assessment, our collaborative efforts with researchers and other NGOs have seen all mobulid species granted legally-binding international protection in the trade of products sourced from their body parts, under Appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).
Established a genetics team.
We have established a genetics team who are working to collate a comprehensive library of Mobulid tissue samples from all species of Mobulid ray. The genetics team are currently working to develop a global Mobulid genetic ID kit.
Deployed Crittercams on manta rays for the first time.
In 2015 the Manta Trust, National Geographic Society and Scripps Institution of Oceanography deployed Crittercams on manta rays for the first time. These cameras, which we have used in Mexico and the Maldives, are helping to provide new insight into manta behaviour.
Submitted 'Concerted Actions' proposal to CMS address community transitions away from mobulid fisheries.
In 2017 the ‘Concerted Actions’ proposal we submitted to the Convention on Migratory Species CoP12 was accepted, with support from five countries (Fiji, Ecuador, India, the EU and the Philippines). It addressed the community transition and livelihood challenges that result from a change in mobulid trade legislation and fishery management.
our achievements with EDUCATION
Produced formal guides to identifying mobulid rays and their gill plates, to aid governments in enforcing international legislation.
In 2014 we produced a ‘Global Mobulid ID Guide’ and ‘Mobulid Gill Plate ID Guide’, in order to better aid researchers as well as enforcement and customs personnel to provisionally identify manta rays and manta ray gill plates.
Created an underwater 360-VR film to take voting politicians & ministers on a dive with devil rays.
In 2016, prior to the vote to list all remaining devil rays under Appendix II of CITES, we developed a successful multi-media campaign to support the proposal. Named 'Love Mini Mantas', the campaign revolved around a 360-VR film, made in collaboration with Manta Catalog Azores, and was used to immerse viewers in a “virtual dive” with devil rays in the Azores. The film was played to over 350 delegates during CoP17 in Johannesburg, including those representing 56 of the 150 attending nations that voted on the devil ray proposal.
Driven implementation workshops to aid governments enforce legislation against the gill plate trade.
We have organised and/or participated in policy-implementation workshops in all key mobulid fishing countries (Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Peru) to support enforcement and monitoring of the gill plate trade.
Launched multi-media initiative to support and increase sustainable manta tourism.
In 2017 we launched a campaign to educate tourists and operators about “How to Swim with Manta Rays”. The initiative includes the creation of a multimedia tool kit based on the Manta Trust’s research-backed Code of Conduct. This continually growing kit includes a short film, instructions for staff, and a 10- Step Guide, and is designed to help operators and tourists alike minimise the impact their interactions have on the mantas they encounter. We developed a dedicated website for this project (www.swimwithmantas.org), making the information and media tools freely available in multiple languages.
Published world's first book on manta rays.
Manta Trust co-founders Dr Guy Stevens, marine biologist, and Thomas P. Peschak, award-winning National Geographic photographer, published the world’s first book on manta rays in 2017. ‘MANTA Secret Life of Devil Rays’ combines ground-breaking photography with the latest scientific research from our projects around the globe.
our achievements by collaborating
Helped create & implement a management plan for Hanifaru Bay Marine Protected Area in the Maldives.
Following the declaration of Hanifaru Bay as an Marine Protected Area (MPA) in 2009, the Maldivian Manta Ray Project assisted the Ministry of Environment in the creation of a management plan. The plan’s purpose was to sustainably control tourism, and minimise the impact of visitors on the reef mantas that aggregate in the MPA to feed. This was approved by the central government in 2011 and came into full effect in 2012.
Developed & published a 'Global Conservation Strategy for Manta & Devil Rays.'
In 2014 we developed a ‘Global Conservation Strategy for Manta and Devil Rays’ with the IUCN Shark Specialist group and mobulid experts. This strategy was finalised and published as a scientific paper in 2016, highlighting the scale of threats to the species including global mobulid fisheries and the gill plate trade; a vital resource for educating governments and policy makers.
Joined forces with several groups to secure international protective legislation for mobulid rays.
Our work with several collaborating groups has resulted in the successful adoption of all mobulid species under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Appendix I & II, and the listing of manta (2013) and devil rays (2016) under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The Manta Trust is also now an official collaborating partner to the CMS Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks.
Helped gain national protection for mantas in key mobulid fishing nations.
Our campaigning and work with local communities, in collaboration with other NGOs such as WildAid and Planeta Océano, has helped manta rays to gain national protection in regions with some of the world’s largest mobulid fisheries. In 2014 Indonesia created the world’s largest manta sanctuary in its waters, and in 2016, Peru awarded national protection to manta rays.
Worked with partners to create 'Best Practice Guidelines for Shark & Ray Tourism'.
We initiated a collaborative project with WWF and Project AWARE to develop ‘Best Practice Guidelines for Shark and Ray Tourism’, in collaboration with a scientific advisory group and industry experts. This includes a large outreach and education component towards dive operators, governments and the local community. The guide was launched in early 2017, and is designed to help the public create their own Tourism Guidelines that are specific to their corner of the ocean, and the shark and ray species that inhabit it.