Manta Rays Indonesia
To learn more about Indonesia’s manta fishery and the manta populations impacted by it. Working closely with local communities and the dive tourism industry, we aim to use this information to raise awareness about the importance of conserving mantas and develop a management plan for manta populations in the region.
Why this is important:
Increased demand for manta gills used in Chinese medicine is changing what was previously a limited scale subsistence fishery in Indonesia into an expanding commercial fishery, and the number of mantas caught each year has risen dramatically. Due to their life history (slow growth, late age of sexual maturation and low fecundity) manta rays have a limited capacity to recover from overfishing, and population declines have already been observed in certain areas of Indonesia where fishing pressure is high.
Working alongside Guy Stevens (Project Leader for the Save Our Seas Foundations Manta Project in the Maldives) as a manta ray researcher, I have become increasingly aware of the importance of protecting this incredible species, not only for ecological reasons but also as a resource for sustainable eco-tourism. Recognising that the economic benefits generated through manta viewing far exceed the limited gains available from a manta fishery, the government of the Republic of the Maldives now bans fishing for mantas. Witnessing the Maldives’ success in protecting manta rays while also boosting local tourism revenues has been extremely inspiring, and provides a guidepost for what may be possible elsewhere, in particular Indonesia.
At present, manta rays are not protected in Indonesia, and research on Indonesian manta populations to date has been limited in scope. Growing fishing pressure and habitat disturbances have underlined the critical importance of further research within Indonesia to evaluate the impact of these threats on manta populations, and develop appropriate conservation plans.
In 2008, Guy Stevens visited Komodo National Park on an exploratory dive expedition to observe manta rays in the area. His initial observations highlighted the need for future research in Indonesian waters. Subsequently, I travelled to Komodo, Bali, and Raja Ampat earlier this year, to assess the possibility of setting up a national research and conservation programme. We are now proceeding with planning and are currently in discussions with international and Indonesian NGOs working on marine conservation in the region, and we look forward to making a meaningful contribution to the understanding and conservation of manta rays in Indonesia.
Aims and Objectives
The specific objectives of this project are:
- Survey of Indonesia’s manta fishery.
- Research into the ecology and biology of Indonesia’s manta populations.
- Local community education, awareness raising and support of alternative, sustainable incomes.
- Research into mantas current and potential contribution to eco-tourism in Indonesia.
Few people are aware of or understand the severity of the threats that manta rays are currently facing around the world. Year after year thousands of manta rays and their close relatives the mobula rays, are being killed and removed…
A key objective of the Indonesian Manta Project is to raise awareness about the threats to manta rays, the biological and ecological traits that make them particularly susceptible to fishing pressure and the ecological and economical importance of protecting them.…
After a successful 3 days at the Asian Dive Expo (ADEX) in Singapore, Manta Trust Director, Guy Stevens and I left the big city and headed off on our journey to remote Raja Ampat in Indonesia’s West Papua province, to…
The Raja Ampat archipelago is located off the northwestern tip of the Birds Head Peninsular on the island of New Guinea in Indonesia’s West Papua province. At the center of the coral triangle, Raja Ampat is one of the most…
I have just returned from a 2-day trip to Cilacap fishing port, in the southern coast of Central Java, in order to gather current information on manta and mobula ray landings at this site. Cilacap is one of the largest…