Indonesia put a nationwide stop on manta ray fishing after it was calculated that a single animal is worth an estimated US$1 million for its lifetime in tourism versus its value of $40-$500 when killed.
Indonesia, a nation that has been the world’s largest fishery for sharks and rays for nearly three decades, announced legislation that will fully protect all manta rays within its nearly 6 million square kilometers exclusive economic zone (EEZ), making it the largest sanctuary for both species of manta rays in the world.
Conservation International (CI) and its partners welcomed the bold legislation, which has come at a crucial time for mantas, whose global populations have declined precipitously over the past decade and are now considered “Vulnerable to Extinction” by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The decision was influenced by a review conducted by the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, CI, and a coalition of conservation organizations. The review included findings from a recent study, led by WildAid, The Manta Trust, and Shark Savers, that reveal a single manta ray is worth an estimated US$1 million in tourism revenue over the course of its lifetime versus its value of $40-$500 if caught and killed.