Indonesia Creates World’s Largest Manta Ray Sanctuary
Indonesia has announced legislation that will protect all manta rays within its nearly six million square kilometer exclusive economic zone, creating the world’s largest sanctuary for both species of manta rays.
On January 28, Sharif Sutardjo, Indonesia’s Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, declared both the giant manta ray and reef manta ray as protected species under Indonesian law.
Indonesia has been the world’s largest fishery for rays and sharks for nearly 30 years, but a new review conducted by two Indonesian government agencies and a coalition of conservation organizations, concluded that rays are worth up to 2,000 times more alive than dead, due to the tourist business they attract.
Conducted by the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, with input from Conservation International, the review included findings from a recent study, led by WildAid, the Manta Trust and Shark Savers, showing that a single manta ray is worth an estimated US$1 million in dive tourism revenue over the course of its life.
The same animal is worth between $40 and $500 if caught and killed before the end of its average lifespan of 20 – 30 years.
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