World Manta Day
The 17th September marked the celebration of World Manta Day! At Kuredu, every encounter with these gentle giants is a cause for celebration and we love seeing the huge smiles of our guests when the Manta Search boats arrive back at the jetty after a successful mission!
Manta Rays are the largest rays in the ocean and the Maldives is home to the world’s largest population of reef manta rays, with over 5,500 individuals. This year the focus of the event is tourism, how it contributes to manta ray conservation, but also the impacts it can have.
Tourism helps to raise awareness, generates funding for research, and contributes to efforts to protect manta ray habitats and prevent their exploitation. However, it is crucial that manta ray tourism is properly managed, to promote responsible practices and reduce human impacts on their fragile habitats, which if managed sustainably helps to ensure the long-term survival of these magnificent animals.
Sadly, manta ray populations around the world are under threat and their numbers are falling, with the following threats contributing to this: Mantas are caught in regions of China and East Asia for their gill plates; They can easily become entangled in fishing nets and die as bycatch and even if they are released alive, the survival rate is poor; unsustainable and unregulated tourism can drive mantas away from important cleaning and feeding sites through overcrowding and poor in-water behaviour; and climate changes threaten to change the distribution and abundance of zooplankton which mantas feed on.
Here at Kuredu we celebrated with a snorkelling Manta Search, a scuba diving two-tank to Fushivaru and a fascinating evening conducted by our Marine Biologist. Manta season in Lhaviyani Atoll is set to begin very soon and it’s looking promising as we’ve already had plenty of sightings – what are you waiting for? Join us and keep your fingers crossed for Manta Mania!