This article is courtesy of Project AWARE.
Congratulations and countless thanks to Diana Belton and Alice Martino for organising the first Manta Ray Ball supporting Project AWARE. Diana and Alice went above and beyond to create a truly memorable evening for everyone to enjoy. It’s the magic of swimming with manta rays that inspired Diana and Alice to organise the event which raised an amazing AUD $16,000.
Originally from Canada, Diana spends her days as a manta tour guide in the heart of the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park. She’s passionate about protecting manta rays. Alice swapped the waters of Lake Como, Italy for the Ningaloo Reef and is mad about mantas!
“We swim with mantas almost everyday and get to see them enjoy their natural habitat. Mantas should be safe to swim ocean wide not only in dedicated marine parks. As divers we want the chance to see manta rays everywhere these animals choose to populate.
“We hope one day everywhere can benefit from eco tourism just like Coral Bay. Here we’re fortunate to have a strong population of coastal manta rays and manta ray tourist experiences take place daily,” said Diana.
Scuba divers have a strong voice and we’re achieving major milestones together. With a passion for the ocean like no other, divers are naturally concerned about declines in marine species and your generous donations will help protect threatened species.
International trade in gill rakers – the tight-knit, feathery structures these filter feeders use to strain plankton – is driven by Asian markets for Chinese medicine and poses an immediate threat to their surv
ival. Thanks to Migration Media, a local production company, produced a video specifically for the event and to raise awareness about the plight of manta rays: “Stop the Demand. Breaking the cycle of the manta ray trade.”
A big shout out and thank you to Diana, Alice and everyone involved from Coral Bay to Exmouth and those who hosting mini events and donated around the world.
Thank you to all PADI Members and Dive Centres who support Project AWARE. Please look out for more alerts from Project AWARE on how you can get involved.