|Help protect Manta Rays in Hawaii!|
Hawaii is one of a few locations in the world where manta rays can be observed in the wild on a regular basis. Divers see up to 3 dozen manta rays feeding nightly on Kona manta ray dives. However, there is currently no protection for these manta rays in state waters. Manta rays around the world are being killed for their meat, skin, cartilage, and branchial elements which are being used in traditional Asian medicines.
Studies in Hawaii have shown that the populations in the island are small, with limited migration between islands, and extremely low reproductive rates. These characteristics make the Hawaii manta rays extremely susceptible to overfishing. Recent threats of take by collectors have caused concern that there are no laws currently protecting manta rays. With only 154 individuals identified in Kona since 1992, these amazing animals are highly vulnerable.
Two bills have been introduced in the Hawaii State House and Senate this year that would prohibit the capture or killing of manta rays in Hawaii State waters. Please join us in efforts to protect these charismatic animals by sending testimony in support of HB366 and SB394. Both bills must survive numerous committee hearings before they can be passed into law. Only 1 out of 10 bills makes it to a general vote, so massive public support is needed all along the way to see that the bills are passed out of all the committee hearings. The perilous position of Hawaii’s mantas was underscored when testimony opposing the manta protection bill was received from several persons associated with the commercial aquarium industry. Your help is needed now to ensure that these gentle giants will be there in our future.
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