Ray of hope for giant manta rays

Manta ray

Delighted to share news from Australia, where the Government has announced the giant manta ray is now protected under national environment law.

The giant manta ray has been listed as a Migratory Species under Australias Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. With their population dropping by over 30% worldwide, this is a crucial step to saving these beautiful creatures.

A year ago the OceanElders sent this letter to Prime Minister Gillard of Australia, and Tony Burke MP, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. We requested that they support the establishment of a marine protected area, including the Coral Sea.

The OceanElders sent another letter in July 2012 upon the announcement of the creation of the worlds biggest marine reserves network, congratulating them on the fantastic news.

Along with Virgin Unite and WildAid, we also pressed for further protection specifically for giant manta rays, which is now being delivered. Mr Burke said the listing ensures it is now an offence to take, trade, keep, or move the species in Commonwealth waters. Fishers will now also have to report any interactions with giant manta rays, as they do for other protected species such as whale sharks.

He commented: The giant manta ray is a highly migratory species - with some being known to travel more than 1000 kilometres - and threats often arise outside of protected areas.

For this reason, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species and our national environment law are an excellent way to achieve international cooperation and coordination to better protect the species.

This fantastic news closely follows the recent banning of shark finning in Costa Rica. Head over to the OceanElders to keep up with the latest progress in our efforts to conserve our oceans and their wildlife.

Images by Shawn Heinrichs

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