Area between Jupiter and Boynton Beach, a potential manta ray nursery

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scubadada

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From REEF newsletter:

Researchers from the Marine Megafauna Foundation, Jessica Pate and Andrea Marshall, show strong evidence that south Florida features a nursery ground for manta rays, only the third such special place known for the species.

The results, published last month in the journal Endangered Species Research, are surprising, given the proximity to large numbers of people and human activity. Pate spent hundreds of hours conducting visual boat-based surveys between Jupiter Inlet and Boynton Beach between June 2016 to November 2019 to locate and identify individual manta rays from their color patterns and markings. During that time, she identified 59 individuals, and saw several multiple times.

While the warm south Florida waters seem conducive to young manta growth, there is a trade-off; 46 percent of the individuals showed evidence of injury or scarring from boat propellers, fishing equipment, or other unidentified causes. The authors used the REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project database to establish a baseline of sighting frequency for the species in Florida. They noted a very low frequency of occurence by REEF surveyors (<1% statewide); remarkable given that almost 45,000 REEF surveys have been conducted in Florida waters since 1993. As an avid diver herself, Pate anecdotally knew it was rare, but having the REEF database to provide quantitative information is a good example of the strength and value of REEF's citizen sicence dataset. It also is a good reminder about the importance of non-sightings.

https://www.int-res.com/articles/esr2020/43/n043p051.pdf
 

kelemvor

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Sacrebleu! That's a lot of mantas right in our backyard.

I wonder if any of the local diveboats have open seats this weekend...

Very sad about all the hooks. People should only eat cow and pig, no fish. Fish don't taste good anyway.

upload_2020-10-7_10-17-5.png

That one way upriver in Port st. Lucie is odd.
 

scubadada

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Sacrebleu! That's a lot of mantas right in our backyard.

I wonder if any of the local diveboats have open seats this weekend...

Very sad about all the hooks. People should only eat cow and pig, no fish.

View attachment 616707
I wouldn't count on seeing a manta, sightings are quite rare. I have over 1100 dives in this area and almost 900 in Boynton Beach. I have seen mantas twice while exiting the Boynton Inlet and got in to snorkel with them. I have seen a manta only twice while diving in BB, spectacular.
 

Divin'Papaw

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I've only seen the ones that hang out near the Boynton Inlet. I've never seen any diving this area but I have a mere fraction of the dives here that @scubadada has. But I'm always on the look out!!
 

Jake 10

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Johnoly

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My annual fish calendar has the Manta Migration coming thru on the 19th-30th of every October like clock work.
Today (17th) several Blue Heron Bridge divers reported big Manta's AT THE BRIDGE with OW checkout divers.
The yet-to-be carded divers asked afterwards......... " Are they here every day?? " :rofl3:
@scubadada @JimBlay
 

tarponchik

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I wonder if someone plans to install lights on one of the fishing piers to attract mantas at night.

Re fishing hooks, I see wounded or scarred fish every dive.
 

Divin'Papaw

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My annual fish calendar has the Manta Migration coming thru on the 19th-30th of every October like clock work.
Today (17th) several Blue Heron Bridge divers reported big Manta's AT THE BRIDGE with OW checkout divers.
The yet-to-be carded divers asked afterwards......... " Are they here every day?? " :rofl3:
@scubadada @JimBlay

Awesome!! I almost went to the Bridge this morning. Kicking myself now that I decided not to go. :(
 

nolatom

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One more reason I have always liked the Jupiter and West Palm dive scene. you can go from kindergarten to post-doctoral in your diving, it’s got reefs, good wrecks, good creatures, good shore diving, spearo buddies who catch supper for me.

I was pretty new to diving when I first dived Jupiter, and just a few years later was with a group going to 135’ to pass through Hole in the Wall. And got to see the Lemon Sharks one February.

Now maybe Mantas? Hope so.
 

Lostdiver71

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One of the reasons that divers miss Mantas is that they are too fixated on the reef and don't look around often enough. The times that I have seen Mantas most of the other divers did not see them although a few that were paying attention when I banged on my tank and pointed them out did. I was actually told by a dive guide (not an actual certified Divemaster) that there was no way I saw a Manta and that they did not exist in Florida's waters and I was not the only one who saw it! He insisted I must have seen an Eagle Ray.
 
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