Manta Rays receive first international protection from the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals

Posted on November 25, 2011
Written by: Shark Savers
Tags: Manta Ray of Hope Campaign 


Shark Savers applauds the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) on its agreement to list the giant manta ray (Manta birostris) on both its Appendix I and Appendix II, obligating its member countries to protect mantas and their habitats. The CMS is an international treaty organization and the only global convention specializing in the conservation of migratory species, their habitats and migration routes. Shark Savers also thanks the Ministry of the Environment of Ecuador for initiating and submitting the proposals to protect Manta birostris by listing them on both Appendices I and II of the CMS.

The Manta Ray of Hope team assisted Ecuador’s CMS delegates in shaping the proposal and made available to all CMS delegates a condensed version of its forthcoming Manta Ray of Hope report, "Global State of Manta and Mobula Rays" and access to the Manta Ray of Hope short film prior to this week's CMS meeting in Bergen, Norway.

MO-Mantas-2.jpgThe Manta Ray of Hope project is a joint effort of Shark Savers and WildAid and will release the Manta Ray of Hope report to the public in December of 2011. The much anticipated Manta Ray of Hope report will provide an urgent call to protect mantas and mobulas by providing the most far-reaching documentation ever conducted on both the intensive overfishing of mantas and mobulas as well as the trade in gill rakers that has pushed these animals to the brink of local extinctions.

“Mantas and mobulas cannot wait any longer to be protected from the all-consuming destruction by the gill raker trade”, said Michael Skoletsky, Executive Director of Shark Savers. “The CMS is the first international convention to take action to protect mantas and are leading the way to stop the gill raker trade before mantas disappear—a very real possibility.”

Shawn Heinrichs, the Manta Ray of Hope project leader, adds, “With the power of the CMS listings, there is now momentum to achieve full protection for manta rays in key range states where they are currently targeted: Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Mozambique and Peru.  In every one of these countries, mantas can provide much more economic value as a magnet for diving eco-tourism than for the short term and rather modest economic gain from destroying their manta and mobula populations forever.”

For its submission to CMS, the Manta Ray of Hope team worked with partners in Ecuador, the country that sponsored the move to protect mantas, including local NGO Equilibrio Azul. The team also consulted with Dr. Andrea Marshall, Guy Stevens and Sonja Fordham of Shark Advocates International in advance of the CMS meeting to assist with preparations.

About Shark Savers: Shark Savers was founded in 2007 by six long-time divers driven by a shared passion – to save the world’s dwindling shark and ray populations. Today, more than 20,000 members from 99 nations share that passion. Focusing on action and results, Shark Savers programs result in saving the lives of sharks and rays. By leveraging professional experience and expertise, Shark Savers brings this important issue to the masses in many compelling forms, motivating people to stop consuming sharks and shark fin soup, and working for the creation of shark and ray sanctuaries and other protections.For more information, please visit

About Manta Ray of Hope: Shark Savers, WildAid, and a team of the top manta researchers in the world are partners in the Manta Ray of Hope project, a collaboration of non-profit organizations, researchers, dive operators, governments and local communities to save mantas and mobulas from this unsustainable trade. Manta Ray of Hope is developing global conservation campaigns based on sound science, including:

  • Our upcoming report on the destructive fishing and consumption of Mobulids.
  • Establishment of trade bans and sanctuaries.
  • Education and awareness campaigns for consumers.
  • Ecotourism development in fishing communities.

Manta Ray of Hope receives support from the Silvercrest Foundation, Hrothgar Investments Ltd, and private donors. 
For more information, please visit