We aim to empower coastal communities in marine and manta ray conservation. We'll equip a permanent local exhibition on manta rays and purchase a suitable boat for local fishermen to lead ecotourism excursions in northern Peru. Community members and visitors will learn from the exhibition and local fishers will receive equipment and training to promote ecotourism. This will benefit sustainable development of low-income fishing communities, and enhance manta ray and marine conservation.
The giant manta ray is an iconic and vulnerable species threatened worldwide. Tumbes, in northern Peru, is home to one of the most important giant manta populations in the world. However, mantas in this area have been entangled in local artisanal fisheries, consumed locally and commercialized; worrisome challenges given this species' slow reproductive rate. Although Peru's legislation now protects mantas, strengthening community ownership is necessary to ensure their effective conservation.
The promotion of fishers as conservation and ecotourism ambassadors will value manta rays alive instead of harvested, while providing low-income fishers with an additional sustainable livelihood. Our permanent exhibition will enhance the community's conservation education and awareness. Your support will finance the purchase of a suitable ecotourism boat, to be used by the local fishermen tourism association, as well as educational materials to launch the permanent local exhibit.
These community-based efforts will transform the lives of 10 local fishers and help conserve manta rays in northern Peru. Developing an innovative revenue stream through manta ecotourism will generate a multiplier effect to boost the community economically. At least 8 schools and 300 students will visit the exhibit in its first year. Engaging both locals and visitors will empower more people in manta and marine conservation, ultimately developing community pride in mantas as a flagship species.