World Manta Day was officially celebrated on 17th September, but here at Hurawalhi we celebrate mantas all year round and our partnership with Manta Trust means we have experts on hand for education and research purposes.
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.
Unfortunately, Manta ray populations around the world are under threat and their numbers are falling. Mantas are caught in some regions of the world for their gill plates; they become entangled in fishing nets and die as bycatch; 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 Hurawalhi, we celebrated with Reef Safari and Manta Search in collaboration with Prodivers, a fascinating talk ‘Mantas of the Maldives’, in Coco Bar in the evening courtesy of our resident marine biologists from Manta Trust, and our guests enjoyed delicious manta inspired cocktails too.
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 a bumper season!