Manta rays populations in Indonesia, the Philippines and Mexico are being depleted because of over fishing. Scientists and advocates are concerned that as those populations continue to fall Hawaii will be the next target.
A resolution to study the worth of establishing penalties for the capture or killing of mantas died in the Legislature this year. Though plans have been made to lobby the bill next year some worry that it will be to late.
Mantas are slow breeding and do not migrate meaning that a fishery could permanently wipe out a population in a short time. This is of particular concern to Hawaii as diving with them generated over $3 million in direct and indirect revenue.