The manta rays in Hawaii are considered a precious natural resource, worthy of conservation and preservation. In the State of Hawaii, it is unlawful to kill or capture a manta ray (ACT92 (09)). The local economy in Kona benefits from their well-being. Thousands of tourists make the Big Island their destination solely to experience the manta rays in their natural habitat.
Informal, voluntary guidelines have been in place since the 1990’s. The manta ray industry has grown significantly over the last of 20 years. In an effort to address the issues of rapid growth and questionable conduct within the local community, Federal and State Officials “called” a meeting of all activity providers involved in the manta ray tour industry in November of 2012. By April of 2013 the Manta Tour Operator Standards were created with the intent to:
- Increase the safety of the manta rays and their habitat.
- Increase the safety of the users and participants of the manta tour experience.
- Establish community practices and to educate those people involved.
We encourage everyone to read the complete standards.
Because the standards are on a voluntary basis and no enforcement is in place, we also want to inform you about efforts made to identify which activity providers work within the standards. More info here on the Manta Ray Green List.