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Maldivian Manta Rays Protected!

Maldivian Manta Rays Protected!

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This petition has been created by Moosa M. and may not represent the views of the Avaaz community.
Moosa M.
started this petition to
Maldives President
The Maldivian government, during World Environment Day on June 5th, have announced that all ray species, including both species of mantas will be added to the list of Protected species. This new legislation makes it illegal to capture, keep or harm any type of ray in the Maldives. The Environment Protection Agency's Director General, Ibrhahim Naeem said "Rays have gotten so rare now that we fear its extinction, when it earns a lot of profit in tourism."

The Maldives hosts the largest population of reef manta rays (Manta alfredi) in the world, but there is no national law which prohibits fishing or harming these increasingly vulnerable species. In many other countries the direct fishing of manta rays and their relatives, driven by the increased demand of gill plates in Eastern Asia, is decimating regional populations. Increased pressures from tourism are also having detrimental impacts on these species which national legislation can help to control.

Manta rays give birth to only one live born pup on average just once every 3-5 years and have one of the longest gestation periods of any animal. Their extremely conservative reproductive strategy, coupled with a slow growth rate and late maturity makes manta rays extremely vulnerable to exploitation. For these reasons many countries are acting quickly to safeguard their regional population of mantas. Indonesia, one of the world's leading manta tourism destinations like the Maldives, recently established the largest manta ray sanctuary in the world, protecting a 6 million sq. kilometre region!

Manta rays are an important resource in the Maldives, generating over US$8 million every year through manta ecotourism. The Maldives has already demonstrated its commitment to marine conservation by protecting all species of sharks and establishing several Marine Protected Areas throughout the archipelago. Now we ask the Maldives to launch a powerful message to the world and continue being a leader in marine conservation by declaring nationwide protection for manta rays and their relatives!

Thank you, every vote counts!

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