State of Hawaii Legislature
Dear House of Representatives,
The Manta Network, its Manta Science Advisory Board and the more than 1,000 members worldwide would like to submit our support for House Bill 366.
The Manta Network is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to research, education, conservation and protection of manta and mobula rays worldwide. TMN includes most of the world’s manta biologists, research affiliates in more than 40 countries and volunteers and supporters around the world. Manta Network’s Science Advisory Board includes Dr. Bob Rubin, Dr. Heidi Dewar, Dr. Ellen Freund, Tim Clark, M.S. and Robert Aston, M.S.
HB366 would make it illegal to capture or kill manta rays in Hawaii. No fishery has ever existed in Hawaii. However, aquariums are now targeting Hawaii as a location where they can capture manta rays for husbandry experiments and for display in tanks. Without legislative protection, these aquariums would be able to take as many individuals from the population as they want, and not have to report on the fate of the individuals they take.
Hawaii has a healthy population of manta rays, but information on the life history and movement rates suggest that they would be highly susceptible to over fishing. If we are going to protect manta rays in Hawaii, we need to do it now before fishing starts.
Kona is one of the best locations around the world to see manta rays in the wild. Manta rays are observed on 80% of the dives at Garden Eel Cove each year. Each year, manta ray ecotourism generates over 2.5 million dollars in revenue for the state of Hawaii. The economic benefit in tourism depends on a healthy population of live manta rays in Hawaii.
Manta rays do not have to be in aquarium for researchers to learn more about them. Hawaii is a perfect location for researchers to study manta rays in the wild. In addition, with today’s Internet technologies, it is now possible to maintain live video cameras to provide real-time manta encounters directly to aquarium exhibits. The MantaCam, as develop by Ocean Presence Technologies, is now being deployed at manta cleaning stations in the Pacific Ocean. This approach is not only more cost-effective than husbandry but also has no negative impacts on the species.
There is currently no protection for manta rays from any type of fishing, collection, or capture in Hawaii. They are worth much more to Hawaii alive and swimming in the Hawaiian waters.
The Manta Network, its advisors and members urge your legislative body to pass HB366!
Signed respectively yours and on behalf of the Manta Science Advisory Board,
The Manta Network
326 Pacheco Ave.
Santa Cruz, California 95062
Web Address: www.Save-the-Mantas.org
Also see: www.OceanPresence.com
Manta Science Advisory Board
Dr. Bob Rubin
Dr. Heidi Dewar,
Dr. Ellen Freund
Tim Clark, M.S.
Robert Aston, M.S.
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!!
The first bill (HB366) is being heard in the House on Monday, but testimony needs to be submitted by Sunday February 1st at 9AM to be heard in this session. It is critical that the House knows your feelings on this matter. It is fairly easy to submit testimony on the web at www.capitol.hawaii.gov/emailtestimony. Please tell the representatives about your personal experiences with manta rays and why you think they deserve protection in Hawaii.