Indonesia bans fishing Manta Rays after finding they’re worth 1Million each for tourism.

Manta rays are now fully protected in Indonesian waters, in the largest sanctuary for manta rays in the world. The global populations of mantas have been decimated over the last decade and they are now “Vulnerable to Extinction” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. A study led by The Manta Trust and Shark Savers revealed that one manta ray is worth an estimated US $1M in tourism revenue during its lifetime—much more than the of $40-$500 it would be worth if caught and killed. Both species of manta ray (the oceanic manta ray Manta birostris and the reef manta M. alfredi), which have docile natures, up to 25-foot wingspans, and intelligence and grace, are a top tourism draw in Indonesia.

Mantas take 10 years to mature and produce only one pup every 2-5 years. They are caught for their gill rakers and sold in Guangzhou region in China as a cure-all, despite having no known curative properties.

Less than a year ago, full protection was declared for four species of sharks and rays, including whale sharks and sawfish in Indonesia. The Indonesian government is currently considering similar protections for other threatened shark species such as hammerheads and oceanic whitetip sharks.

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