Recently in Petite Anse we were lucky enough to spot several mobula rays while snorkelling in the bay. We’ve had high concentrations of plankton in the bay here at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, which is normal for the time of year and as plankton eaters, the mobula rays have been attracted close to the shore. Mobula (or devil rays) are a member of the Mobulidae family which comprises nine different species of mobula rays and two species of manta ray. The biggest of the mobula rays can grow to over 5 metres! They are well known for their impressive breaches clean out of the water and so are sometimes referred to as flying rays.
Earlier this year the 17th annual CITES Conference of Parties was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. Here, 182 countries met to decide which threatened animals would be afforded international protection. One of the decisions made this year was that all species of mobula ray were afforded protection and listed on Appendix II (species that are not necessarily threatened at present but may become so if trade is not closely controlled), affording them future protection from unsustainable fishing and trading.
Along with the obvious benefits of listing these species and protecting them, when they are placed on these lists, their names become more widespread and their profiles raised. Raising awareness of these fantastic creatures and all the amazing marine life that call our oceans their home is critical. Conservation starts with education.
Here on the beach, we like to ensure everyone knows just how much fascinating life there is under the water in the bay. One of the ways in which we do this is with our sightings board. We have a list of some of the more unusual characters on the reef which we update every month. Guests can come along to add their sightings to the tally and we often have enthusiastic souls competing to tick all the species off! By chatting to guests not only about what we’ve been seeing in the bay, but their sightings too, we hope to spark or intensify an interest. To realise the value of these ecosystems and every organism within them is vital if they are to be conserved for future generations.