Written by DIVE Magazine Wednesday, 20 February 2013 15:57
The 46,000-square-kilometre (18,000-square-mile) protection zone covers an area at risk from both shark finning and in recent years the commercial exploitation of mantas with the dramatic growth in the sale of their gill rakers for use in so-called traditional Chinese medicine. See http://www.divemagazine.co.uk/articles/water-column/5683-killing-the-golden-manta
The local government in Raja Ampat, on the western tip of New Guinea, announced the move this week, issuing local regulations to ban the finning and fishing of both sharks and mantas.
Rizal Algamar, Indonesia director of the Nature Conservancy, described the regulations in a joint statement with Conservation International as a 'breakthrough in policy'.
In November 2011, the oceanic manta ray became the first ray to be listed on the Convention on Migratory Species, which obligates signatories (currently numbering 116) to strictly protect the animals, conserve and restore their habitats, mitigate obstacles to their migration, and control other factors that might endanger them.
Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador have now submitted a proposal to include mantas in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The proposal will be considered in March at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties.
Indonesia ranks as the world’s largest exporter of sharks and rays.