Scuba Diver Australasia + Ocean Planet - - Inspirational Images Of 25 Ocean Species Under Thr - Text Ellen ASIA by Cuy­laerts DIVE EXPO (ADEX 2015, 2019 SPEAKER) Pho­tos by Ellen Cuy­laerts & Pepe Ar­cos ASIA DIVE EXPO (ADEX 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 SPEAKER)

The largest threat to the two species of manta ray, the giant manta and the reef manta, is the de­struc­tion of their habi­tat due to pol­lu­tion and fish­ing, whether in­ci­den­tal or di­rected. While in some coun­tries fish­ing for man­tas has been banned and ex­port bans are also in place, man­tas are sought af­ter by fish­er­men for their gill rak­ers, which are in high de­mand in tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine (TCM). More acidic oceans are also re­duc­ing the avail­abil­ity of plank­ton, the food source of these giant fil­ter feed­ers.

There are a num­ber of places famed for of­fer­ing en­coun­ters with these winged won­ders, in­clud­ing Hawaii, Mex­ico, In­done­sia, and the Mal­dives. One of the world’s bucket-list dives hap­pens at night in the shal­low wa­ters off the Hawai­ian re­sort town of Kona, when the man­tas are drawn in by the plank­ton at­tracted to snorkellers’ and divers’ lights.

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