Manta Rays of Maui

Campaign Update

On September 14, 2014, groundbreaking protections decided at the most recent Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting took effect for five endangered shark species and all manta rays. However, five nations refused to accept the terms of this international mandate: Denmark, Guyana, Japan, Iceland, and Yemen. Signatures added in support of the CITES decision urge these countries to comply with this international mandate of protection.

Pacific Whale Foundation wants to thank all of our members and passengers who participated in the recent Manta Rays of Maui campaign to support the CITES ban on international manta ray trade. Together, the Pacific Whale Foundation community provided over 700 signatures supporting this global petition – equivalent to nearly one-third of all the petition signatures! Great work! To add your name to this effort, or to learn more, visit SeaSave.org.

Pacific Whale Foundation passengers, naturalists and photographers also provided over 15 shots of manta sightings, including some newly documented individuals, to photo ID research conducted by HAMER and MantaWatch.

Throughout the campaign, manta rays served as “poster children” to raise awareness about important ocean health issues. For instance, mantas are particularly susceptible to fishing line entanglement. Pacific Whale Foundation has actively worked within the Maui community to launch the island's first fishing line recycling program. Proper disposal of fishing line helps decrease the chance that line will end up in the ocean and thus lessens the threat of fishing line entangling marine life. We plan to expand this program in the future.

More About this Finished Campaign

Maui is one of a few places in the entire world with a resident population of manta rays. Olowalu Reef, off of West Maui, is home to an estimated 350 resident reef manta rays. This area is even more important in that it is one of only three aggregate coral reefs on Maui, with large, healthy coral heads that are thought to be hundreds of years old.

Manta rays swimmingUnfortunately, this underwater wonderland is threatened by coastal development and runoff, and mantas worldwide are under pressure from overfishing and marine debris.

Pacific Whale Foundation seeks to utilize charismatic marine animals, such as manta rays, to raise awareness about marine issues. For instance, mantas are particularly susceptible to fishing line entanglement. Pacific Whale Foundation has actively worked within the Maui community to launch the island's first fishing line recycling program. Proper disposal of fishing line helps decrease the chance that line will end up in the ocean and thus lessens the threat of fishing line entangling marine life.  

The Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research (HAMER) is a Maui-based organization that is undertaking important manta ray research. To learn more about their work and Maui's manta rays, visit their Manta Ray Awareness Program website.

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Ways You Can Take Action