Saturday, May 21, 2011

Manta Madness!!!!!

I thought this was an interesting conversation on the manta report, I'd like to share with my followers: Emails have been excluded for privacy issues. Names are left to incriminate the "innocent".

On Sat, May 21, 2011 at 10:49 AM, John Haut wrote:

Aloha All,

Big manta counts lately. Lots of $$, boats, divers, and snorkelers!,
Is there any concern in the manta community/dive industry
with supplying an artificially high level of food to and possibly
contributing to an overpopulation of mantas? Could we see starving

mantas if /when the "manta ray night dive" ends and/or the plankton

populations are depleted?

However spectacular and marketable $$ this activity is, it seens to be an
unchecked and unnatural dependence on human interaction. What if some
legislator rightly or wrongly ruled that diving with mantas was verboten?
Would the current manta population survive without the "manta ray
night dive"?

John Haut

From: Keller Laros
To: John Haut
Cc: Manta Pacific . Org
Sent: Sat, May 21, 2011 10:56:22 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: Friday May 13, 2011, Twenty Five Mantas @ Garden Eel Cove

Mantas also feed in the lights in front of hotels and restaurants like

Huggos, Four Seasons, Mauna Kea, Kona Surf. I've seen mantas feeding

at the light at Kailua Pier too. Hopefully some one wouldn't also

want all shore line lights turned out too. That could be hard for

business, navigation, safety. You name it.

Good point John.



I have long pondered this exact same question, and was assured during a personal night dive at Two Step. We entered the water and surface swam out to the "aloha" where we dropped down. We saw 3 mantas feeding already in the area. Upon hitting the bottom I began having trouble with my lights, they were flickering on and off.... after a moment I realized that it was not my lights at all, but the amount of plankton converging in front of them blocking out the light. Before long I couldn't see anything. I've seen nights we call a 5 at the manta site, and this trumped that. These mantas were in a complete smorgasbord . We eventually had to call off the dive because the plankton was too thick. Point of my story is that we aren't "over feeding" the mantas. There is more than enough plankton elsewhere on the reefs they can be feeding on, and do for that matter, without our help. I'm confident these animals could survive our absence without much ado. With that said, certainly we are causing some kind of affect on the environment by becoming a part of it, whether it's a good or bad one, is yet to be absolutely determined. But think of the ramifications that could be caused by the abolishing of the manta dive, which is nearly the entirety of which our dive industry in Kona is based on. Without it, we lose not only the manta dive itself and the revenue it generates, but also the money these divers spend on subsequent day dives, hotels, food, groceries, rental cars, entertainment, and many more businesses on Island. How many of us, or our loved ones have jobs as purveyors, bartenders, resort workers, cooks etc. Without the mantas many of these divers would opt to dive the Caribbean and never get to see the wonders our island has to offer. This could lead to a lack of interest in conservation areas, marine management, and national underwater monuments. I think the attention the Manta dive brings to Kona helps not only it's people but also its underwater environment. Let's keep it up. Just my 2 cents.


Joshua Lambus
J.Lambus Photography
74-5540 Kaiwi St. #283
Kailua Kona, HI 96740

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