Our Passion - Advocacy for the Kona Manta Rays
We have a deep passion for the Manta Rays, and have been diving with them on a nightly basis since 1991. We maintain a vast database of information about our resident population (meticulous records, image archive and statistical analysis) which gives us a clear picture of their individual status and movements.
As Manta Ray Advocates, we simply care about these beautiful creatures and do not want to see them harmed by human interaction. Hence our motto: DO NO HARM! Yet, we also want to keep the gateway open so people have access to them through Green-listed Activity Providers. Harmless, passive interaction is possible and was practiced for over 20 years.
We founded the movement of Manta Ray Advocacy in 2013 because there are two main problems that the Manta Rays and the industry are facing:
PROBLEM # 1 - Over-Capacity
In 2012, there was a paradigm shift within the Manta industry. Many more boat operators started up manta-based businesses. This Manta Ray “gold-rush” decreased the quality of the activity and increased the risk to the Manta Rays and the people. It has gone from a pleasant, serene experience to a chaotic, carnival-like atmosphere (“aquasphere”).
The State of Hawaii is in the process of implementing regulations to manage the sites, but it may be some time before there is any effect.
PROBLEM # 2 - Injuries to the Manta Rays - Disregard to Industry Standards
Unfortunately, the Industry Standards currently in place are “voluntary,” so there are no consequences for non-compliance. Growth may make it impossible for this activity to ever be what it was [again], but with very little effort and agreement, the mantas could once again exist in a safe environment.
The Manta Rays are suffering and being injured because some activity providers do not follow the above mentioned Standards. This has manifested itself with the use of lighting too close to objects like lines, hulls, rudders, ladders and propellers. We also continue seeing operators drop anchor on live-coral.
Much of the excitement and awe from this Experience can vanish when you see manta rays swim by with deep gashes on its face, propeller wounds or rope burns. We have documented many incidents. Below you will find a sad selection.
Learn more about the threats to the Manta Rays and the coral reef here.
We hope that we can create more public awareness through education. People looking to book a tour can make well-informed, consciously “green” choices based on good information. This will help protect the manta rays.
1. Educational material
A. We have created the downloadable e-book "The FREE Guide to the Manta Ray Experience in Kona, Hawaii - 25 Essentials to get the most from this Adventure of a Lifetime". It prepares the participant for this incredible experience, while learning about passive interaction with the mantas; it gives pointers for booking the tour, as well as underwater video and photo tips.
B. We prepared an educational booklet for boat operators and crew members to use as a tool so that people get a well-rounded, informative briefing before they enter the water.
2. Social Media:
We started the “Manta Ray Monday” series on our Facebook page. We also posted the hugely successful Manta Ray Advent Calendar in December of 2014 to educate about the Manta Rays and the difficulties they are facing.
3. The “Green List of Activity Providers”
We created a separate website and compiled the Manta Ray Green List “www.MantaRayGreenList.com” to identify boat operators that follow Industry Standards.
We donate much of our time to Manta Ray Advocacy, we hope to make a difference for them. We also want to help you get the best possible encounter with no ecological impact.
Harmless, passive interaction is possible. We urge you to go GREEN!