At many parts of the world manta rays are killed by people who are fishing for their survival, because they don`t have other option to survive or to support their family.Manta rays have very low reproductive rates, it is very slow or impossible for a targeted population to recover. Although they are legally protected in a few countries and the international trade of manta ray parts will be more strictly controlled from next year they are vulnerable to extinction. Illegal fishing and trade within countries still continues and marine protected areas often don’t create sufficient bounderies for migrating manta rays or dedicated fishermen either when the demand for dried manta ray and mobula gill rakers are high in asian markets.
`The lesson I learned by travelling around the world is that legal protection is not always enough! I believe the key to effective protection is to rather create alternative income options to these communities who now have to rely on manta ray fishing and trade for their survival because they don`t have other choice.`- says Csilla Ari, who established the Manta Memories Project. `The idea of the Manta Memories Project was born when I was observing manta rays at the Atlantis Resort and tourists wanted to buy manta ray photos from me to take home as souvenirs.`
Less than a year later the Manta Memories project started, to establish an alternative income option to the most critical manta ray fishing communities by helping them create manta ray related souvenir items and handicrafts which than will be available at manta ray focused tourist destinations, this way generating additional income for the fishing communities.
Similar Asset-Based Community Development projects are successfully present worldwide that build on the skills of local residents and on the power of local associations, to help them recognize their capacity to build their own, sustainable, local economy.
|Csilla Ari with the staff of the Barefoot Island Resort|
|Farewell song from the lovely island people|
At present a small selection of Manta Memories items are available (please check on website: www.mantamemories.org ), but we will keep you updated about the progress! We are planning to establish the first production centers during the beginning of next year!