From UN High Seas Treaty Agreement to International Women's Day and other manta news this month

Scuba Diving in The Maldives

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Happy Christmas from the Manta Trust!

12 March, 2023

The African Marine Mammal Conservation Organisation

We are thrilled to officially welcome the African Marine Mammal Conservation Organization, known as AMMCO, to our global network of affiliate projects!

Cameroon is located in the Gulf of Guinea on the West coast of Africa and is incredibly rich in biodiversity. The country is best known for its terrestrial wildlife, which includes gorillas, chimpanzees, and elephants. But what is less well known is that they also have an incredibly rich marine biodiversity, with many cetaceans, turtles, fish, sharks & rays in our waters. AMMCO are conducting important research and outreach in Cameroon.

Some of their key achievements so far:

  • To date they have recorded over 39 species of sharks & rays in Cameroon’s waters.
  • They created the SIREN mobile app which enables volunteer fishers to report opportunistic sightings, bycatch and strandings of aquatic mega-fauna along the coast of Cameroon.
  • They initiated the annual Street Whale event, combining art and science to raise awareness of marine issues in Cameroon.
  • With the Manta Trust, they are currently developing a Strategic Plan for the Conservation and Research of Cameroon's Elasmobranchs (CREC).

Gulf of Guinea Elasmobranch Network Fundraiser

Gulf of Guinea Elasmobranch Network Fundraiser

AMMCO are working to conserve marine megafauna in Cameroon's waters and in 2018 they started a program to study sharks & rays off the Cameroonian coast.

In June 2023 AMMCO and The Manta Trust are hosting the first ever Gulf of Guinea Shark & Ray Network meeting in Kribi, Cameroon. This network will develop a collaborative conservation strategy for sharks & rays in the region. It will also provide a platform to build capacity on research methods, conservation policy strategies, and initiatives to involve local citizens and fishers. But to achieve this we need your help!

There are few opportunities for sharks & rays researchers in West Africa to connect and learn from each other, and the cost of travel can be prohibitive. We are asking for your support to help us provide scholarships for local representatives working on shark & ray conservation to attend this important event.

Please donate today to help us make a change, sharks & rays need us to act now. If we don’t act now, we will not only lose these amazing species, but we will threaten the livelihoods and food security of people who rely on these precious marine ecosystems.

We've got 28 days to raise £5,000 in pledges... if we don't hit our target we don't receive a penny! Together we can make a difference!


UN High Seas Treaty Agreement

UN High Seas Treaty Agreement

After years of negotiations with over 100 countries, the UN member states have reached a historic agreement that aims to protect 30% of the world’s high seas by 2023. The high seas are international waters beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, where all countries have the right to fish, ship and conduct research. 

This treaty is crucial for the enforcement of the 30x30 pledge, which aims to protect a third of the world's land and oceans by 2030. Without this treaty, this target would fail to be reached as there is no legal mechanism to create Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) on the high seas. 

UN High Seas Treaty Agreement

The high seas make up two-thirds of the world’s oceans. Currently only 1.2% of the high seas are protected, making it a vulnerable area for many marine species, which are exposed to the consequences of multiple threats such as; climate change, pollution, overfishing and shipping traffic. This treaty will set new limits to fishing practices, the routes of shipping vessels and exploration activities such as deep sea mining.

High seas MPAs may be crucial to mobulid species. Some mobulid species are highly migratory; and the high seas facilitate migration routes between crucial sites for mobulids, such as cleaning stations, nursery and aggregation sites. If these species travel beyond the borders of protected exclusive economic zones (EEZ), they are exposed to threats of the high seas

Although this is a historic day for marine protection, there is still a long way to go before the treaty is enforced. Enough countries must first sign up and legally pass it in their own countries. Plus, the level of protection these MPAs will provide is still unresolved, as there is still an uncertainty about the exact measures of MPAs.


Internship - Maldivian Manta Ray Project

The Manta Trust is excited to announce that applications for an internship with the Maldivian Manta Ray Project in 2023 are now open!

For three months, you will be involved in collecting vital data on the world’s largest-known population of reef manta rays, working and learning from researchers running one of the best-known manta research projects.

The position will give you first-hand experience of working as a manta scientist; operating from our dedicated research vessel, interns will cruise the atoll in search of mantas, and potential new aggregation sites. All data collected will contribute to the database we have built up for over a decade and will be used to inform both local communities and government officials to ensure protective measures are met for the successful conservation of manta rays and other megafauna.

See the link below for more details and requirements for this position!


March 8 - International Women's Day

March 8 - International Women's Day

In some communities, women and girls do not access the ocean as much as men. We think this could negatively impact whole communities, as women are shown to be effective conservation leaders but are not always getting a seat at the table, or a ‘swim in the sea’. 

Only 1/3 women worldwide can swim and research with Maldivian school students we work with reveals that girls are 50% more likely than boys to have never snorkeled, and 3x more likely to feel unconfident swimming in the sea. Learning to swim is imperative not only for safety but for enabling access to the dominant environment and core recreation and economic space.

Including women in ocean related activities has shown to have positive impacts:
• Improved engagement of native women in conservation
• Growth of bottom-up conservation initiatives
• Improving gender equality in regionals where this is critical
• Improving livelihood opportunities in ecotourism and small-scale fisheries sectors.  
• Mitigating poverty in some of the lowest-income regions in the world

Through this project, project leader Flossy Barraud and others will expand our educational endeavors to move towards achieving equality in ocean exploration for women and girls, especially in tropical and ocean-dependent nations. We aim to increase women and girls’ access to the ocean for recreation – swimming, snorkeling, surfing, diving – on the premise that we protect what we love and love what we know.

To learn more about our Ocean Women project and recent updates, visit the link below.


Special Offer - Thailand Manta Expedition

Thailand Manta Expedition

Get a 20% discount and join Manta Expeditions on the 18th of April 2023 for a 10 night expedition, exploring the best of Thailand!

The Manta Trust Thailand Project Leader, Jamie Piyada Monmaneerat will be leading you on a journey of a lifetime, through the beautiful islands on Thailand in search for all things big and small. From ornate ghost pipefish, morays eels, octopuses, hawksbill turtles, sea horses, mantis shrimps, pharaoh cuttlefish, schooling rainbow runners, barracudas, groupers, zebra sharks, coral gardens, swim-throughs to mantas, whalesharks and much more!

Jamie realised how little information was available about the mantas in Thailand, and seeing the opportunity to use all she had, Jamie decided to start the Thailand Manta Project, with the goal of protecting these ocean giants in her home waters.

Not only will you be diving incredible locations, on this expedition, you’ll have the opportunity to experience and participate in cuttingedge conservation research to protect one of the ocean’s most majestic animals. Manta Trust scientists will be collecting photographic identification images of all mantas encountered throughout the expedition - a task that guests are welcome and encouraged to participate in. All new manta rays will be added to the database and guests will be invited to name these new mantas!

Grab one of the last spaces for a 20% discount! Visit the link below for more information.


Scuba Diving in the Maldives

Scuba Diving in the Maldives

Scuba diving in the Maldives means diving at one of the worlds best scuba diving destinations, because of the white sand beaches, coral reefs, clear warm waters, dive sites and a thriving and vibrant marine life. Explore excellent dive sites and a collection of underwater gardens. They're abundant with extensive coral reefs and magnificent fish life. It's common to see sharks, turtles, manta rays, whale sharks and a kaleidoscopic range of tropical sea creatures.

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