A Splash for Manta Ray Research

28 June 2022

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort and Ballistic Beer Co. have partnered together to support critical manta ray research on the Southern Great Barrier Reef!

In 2021 Ballistic Beer Co. pledged that 10c from every ‘Reef’ beer sold on Lady Elliot Island will 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. Track Mia's movements here.

Manta ray tagging on Lady Elliot Island

This SPLASH tag was attached to a 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. We invite our local community to follow the journey of the tagged manta rays on the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef website (reeftracks.org).

Project Manta is part of the Leaf to Reef research program and the Great Barrier Reef Foundations Reef Islands Initiative, delivered by the University of the Sunshine Coast in partnership with Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort.

“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. As our commitment to these regional communities, we want to support causes that are important to locals, like protecting the Reef” - David Kitchen CEO of Ballistic.

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 aggretation site for manta rays with over 1,000 individuals recorded over the past 15 years. This 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 (May-August). PADI has also voted Lady Elliot Island as one of the ‘top 5’ locations in the world to dive with manta rays.

“Since 2007, Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort has supported the Project Manta research team and over this time they 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. 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”- Peter Gash, Managing Director/Custodian, Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort

For further information please contact: Stacey Cain | stacey@ladyelliot.com.au | 07 5536 3644 Images Attached: Image One: Manta ray tagging on Lady Elliot Island Image Two: Group photo (left to right): Asia Haines (Leaf to Reef/Project Manta ), Peter Gash (Lady Elliot Island), David Kitchen (Ballistic Beer Co.), Christine Dudgeon (Leaf to Reef/Project Manta) Image Credit: @BenandDi

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