2022 PADI AWARE Grantee
Iguana Divers will purchase acoustic receivers and tags to deploy, and research populations of endangered oceanic manta rays in Costa Rica.
Iguana Divers’ Mantas de Costa Rica project plans to provide data on mantas and other tagged species to ultimately create a map of their abundance and movement around Costa Rica. This map will provide the first assessment of where manta rays are located and will represent a baseline against which future fluctuations in the population of manta rays can be assessed, Bauserman said. All of this can help to create more protective marine policies.
For Iguana Divers, the ocean is all about peace, life and connection. You could say the same about the majestic oceanic manta rays that the dive shop is working to protect in their home base of Puntarenas, Costa Rica.
“If the results generated by our project help turn attention to Costa Rica as a sanctuary for the protection of oceanic manta rays, we will be so grateful and proud to have contributed to their wellbeing and all other marine species under it,” said the shop’s Anna Cindy Camara Bauserman.
In the short term, their PADI AWARE Foundation Community Grant will allow Iguana Divers to purchase acoustic receivers and tags to deploy on endangered oceanic manta rays. A short-term success would be to collect results from four new receivers, which will offer data from five newly-tagged mantas, previously-tagged mantas and other tagged species in the area. The data will provide insight into mantas’ spatial and temporal distribution, which helps to implement marine policies that can protect this iconic species, Bauserman said.
She hopes the results will also increase the knowledge and consciousness surrounding mantas within the local community. She said, “In the long term, we hope to share our results with the local authorities and the government to help inform future management decisions regarding the conservation of endangered manta rays, protected areas, tourism and fishing.”
“We are so grateful for this grant,” she noted.