We were interested to receive this report from the Alphonse Foundation about the manta project they are currently conducting.   If you’ve five minutes to spare, it’s an interesting read.  

Diving and snorkelling with manta rays is just one of activities on offer around Alphonse Island

After three years of planning, two and a half years of fundraising, and collaboration with partners around the world we got stuck in with three weeks of fieldwork acoustically tagging 20 mantas and taking genetic samples from 30.

The aims of the project are:

Manta rays close to Alphonse Island

Expert tagger, Luke Gordon, who is head of Manta Trust Fiji, flew out to assist with the project and train the team on the ground in tagging and sampling techniques. The tags are about the size of a cigar and sit outside the manta; a tagging pole is used which injects a skin anchor into the muscle tissue of the manta and a strong thread connects that to the tag which sits outside. Anyone swimming around with the Alphonse mantas for the next few months will see the tags straight away as they have been painted with bright blue anti-foul paint. The genetic samples were collected using the same pole but instead of inserting a tag, the tip extracted a tiny piece of tissue.

The next download of the data from the receivers will be in February and we are so excited to start getting stuck into preliminary analysis, at least looking at which tagged mantas have stuck around and what they are up to. The project has a three-year timeline after which everything will be fully analysed, reports and papers written, and conservation management implemented. The results of this project have not just local implications but will also be highly useful for protecting remote, poorly studied manta populations in other small island states where pressures may be higher.  

Diving and snorkelling with these magnificent animals is one of the many wonderful activities that can be arranged alongside fishing around Alphonse Island.

For more details on fishing, and holidays, in the Seychelles please do not hesitate to contact Peter McLeod or Alex Jardine or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.