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.
Over the last few months we have conducted a number of presentations and workshops with dive operators, live-aboard boats and dive resorts at our study sites across Indonesia.
As well as raising awareness, these workshops act as a practical lesson on our manta photo-ID research techniques. Dive operators and their customers are encouraged to get involved with our research by using this simple (but very useful) data collection method during their dives with manta rays. Through this collaboration, we have already built up a network of enthusiastic ‘manta spotters’….ID images are flooding in!
For Coral Triangle Day in June we were also invited to give a presentation at an educational day run by The Coral Triangle Center and The Nature Conservancy in Sanur, Bali. Present at the talk were senior members from several NGO’s along with local and international schools. The event was filmed by the WWF and was a great success. There were many challenging questions from the younger participants. My favorite question being: “if the world ends, would manta rays survive?”