Indonesia creates new 7,000km2 manta ray sanctuary

The Indonesian district of West Manggarai and Komodo has designated its entire marine and coastal waters as a manta ray and shark sanctuary. This announcement by the district Governor last Saturday prohibits fishing for manta rays, sharks, and other threatened species including turtles and Napoleon wrasse, throughout the district’s 7,000km2 waters that extend up to 12 nautical miles offshore.

Download the Press Release

manta rays photo

“Our district of West Manggarai and Komodo is recognized as a world-class marine tourism destination. By prohibiting fishing for these threatened species, we can ensure they will remain for future generations to enjoy,” said Mr Sebastinus Wantung, Head of the district’s Marine and Fisheries Agency.

West Manggarai and Komodo, located at the heart of the Coral Triangle, is home to some of the world’s richest marine biodiversity, including more than 10 shark species, and both oceanic (Manta birostris) and reef manta rays (Manta alfredi). This announcement extends existing conservation management within Komodo National Park’s 1,000km2 marine habitats to now encompass the entire district.

Manta watching tourism is worth an estimated US$15 million to Indonesia’s economy every year, and West Manggarai and Komodo is one of the world’s top manta ray destinations. Divers, snorkelers and marine lovers come from around the world for a chance to see the majestic manta ray in its natural environment.

The West Manggarai and Komodo manta ray and shark sanctuary signals a growing awareness in Indonesia of the tremendous economic value of these species, and the urgent need for improved management. West Manggarai is the second district to take this bold step, and follows the designation of a 46,000km2 manta ray and shark sanctuary by the Raja Ampat district government supported by Conservation International in November 2012. Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries is working with scientists and NGOs to establish regulations that will grant national-level protected status to several endangered shark and ray species.

This visionary decision by the Governor of West Manggarai and Komodo is a fantastic example of how local governments and the diving industry can work together to achieve positive impacts on the environment and the economy. Local stakeholders, including more than 20 local tourism operators, worked with MantaWatch and the district government to ensure that the manta ray sanctuary reflects the district’s pro-poor, pro-job, pro-environment development agenda.

Divers and snorkelers are now playing a vital role monitoring the sanctuary, to ensure a positive impact on populations of threatened species. By sharing their encounters on MantaTrax, divers are providing local marine and fishery officers with critical data about the status of these populations, and an early warning of important changes.

 

 

west manggarai logoindonesia marine and fisheries agency logosail komodo 2013 logo

blue marlin komododivine diving logo dive komodo logoKanawa Island Diving the lounge TREETOP_sqwicked diving komodo

About Andrew Harvey

Andrew Harvey is a marine conservation scientist specialising in biodiversity monitoring, marine protected areas and community conservation. He is the founder of MantaWatch, an organisation that is applying emerging social technologies to raise awareness and develop tools for manta ray conservation.
  • Rio Helmi

    Great! And now for the enforcement….

  • Hermann M. Burger

    Wonderful to hear.

  • BaliDivers

    Amazing news 😉 we have to work on making the difference in areas of Lombok as mantas being slaughtered there by local fishermen for few bucks they from chinese traders…

  • Tanya Masjhur

    good news!….

  • StephenAnderson1

    brilliant,,why cannot  governments.like the evil corrupt,badger-and–deer- murdering–british coalition,start,to adopt animal- and people,friendly policies,instead of forever,being–aggressive,war–mongers,???who are just hell bent ,on wars,for financial ,gain,usually–some poor countries,oil,or other valuable minerals,,why can ,the british coalition,government,not adopt,a more peaceful,attitude,towards,there own–people,???,a more caring ,attitude,towards,there own people???,instead,of always receiving-financial-inducements,,(BRIBES.)from the CORRUPT,british  media,business,and industry,then blaming there own,people????,to cover up ,there own  MISDEEDS,, why can—the–british  coalition,government,not be more friendly–towards,its own people,and its own,wildlife.??????????instead of always being-  AGGRESSIVE..

  • https://www.facebook.com/grampus.delaparra,https://www.facebook.com/pages/CancunXtremeTrip/266744770039524 Rafael de la Parra

    Great to know about this superlative important sanctuary!!!
    Congratulations.
    Here near Cancun, abot 15 miles NE offf Isla Mujeres, México, we have another important aggregation with up to 218 Mantas counted from an aerial survey!

    • https://www.facebook.com/grampus.delaparra,https://www.facebook.com/pages/CancunXtremeTrip/266744770039524 Rafael de la Parra

      about (around 15 miles North East Isla Mujeres)

  • Septyan Ade Purnomo

    holy 😀 ahahaha…..

  • Debbie Rinaldo

    great news

  • Michel Kerseboom

    That was about time..