Mia the pregnant manta ray will be tracked for critical research purposes thanks to a partnership with Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort and Ballistic Beer Co.
In 2021 Ballistic Beer Co. pledged 10 cents from every Reef beer sold on Lady Elliot Island would go towards Project Manta, which undertakes critical research investigating manta rays on the East Coast of Australia.
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort and the contribution from Ballistic Beer Co. enabled the purchase of a SPLASH satellite tag to contribute to Project Manta research.
This SPLASH tag was attached to Mia, the pregnant manta ray, as part of the Project Manta winter field work research trip and will allow her movements to be tracked over the next few months.
The community can follow the journey of the tagged manta rays on the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef website at reeftracks.org.
Project Manta is part of the Leaf to Reef research program and the Great Barrier Reef Foundations Reef Islands Initiative.
CEO of Ballistic Beer Co. David Kitchen said he was thrilled to be part of Project Manta, an initiative important to locals.
“Regional communities are the beating heart of Queensland and we know that if we want to become Queensland’s favourite craft beer, we need to expand beyond Brisbane,” he said.
“As our commitment to these regional communities, we want to support causes that are important to locals, like protecting the reef.”
SPLASH tag vital for Project Manta research
The SPLASH tag assists researchers in understanding manta ray movements and habitat use around Lady Elliot Island and the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
Despite manta ray popularity world wide, there is still much to learn about their movements.
Knowledge of their distribution and movement patterns is vital for conservation purposes.
The satellite tag data will provide high resolution GPS locations of the animal when they surface, which allows for more accurate tracking data.
The island has proved to be an important aggregation site for manta rays with over 1,000 individuals recorded over the past 15 years.
This Project Manta research has earned the island its well known title as ‘Home of the Manta Ray’ with sightings all year round, however, manta rays are known to aggregate in larger numbers during the winter months.
PADI has also voted Lady Elliot Island as one of the ‘top 5’ locations in the world to dive with manta rays.
Peter Gash, Managing Director/Custodian of Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort said since 2007 the resort had supported the Project Manta team who have identified over 1,000 individual manta rays.
“Lady Elliot Island has proven to be a prime site for manta ray activity and is integral to the important research undertaken,” he said.
“We are excited by this partnership with Ballistic Beer Co. and the local community.”
“This type of collaboration helps in creating public awareness about manta rays and their fragile reef environment.
“In doing so, we hope that future generations can continue to enjoy viewing these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.”