Hooray for manta rays! Now let’s holler for scholars!

Scholarship program for students from fishermen families from Bunga Mar, Bohol.

The recent ban on fishing manta rays was a victory for conservation, but students from poor fishermen families who relied on this industry are now left stranded without funding for an education. From your donations, our scholarship program will grant them a better future through finishing their education.

In the fishing community of Bunga Mar, Municipality of Jagna, Bohol, Philippines, a traditional fishery for manta and mobula rays has been going since the last century, shaping the daily life in the community for generations. Manta and mobula rays, locally called as sanga and pantihan respectively, were fished in the Bohol Sea. Initially using sail boats and harpoons, a shift to motorized boat and the use of drift nets in the 1970’s led to a decline in the population of these species. Our NGO has been studying this fishery since 2012 and documented over 2,000 animals landed every year.

Manta and mobula rays are listed as “vulnerable” within the South East Asia region under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. As a result of international concern regarding the depletion of populations of these species worldwide, both manta ray species and all mobulas have been listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix II between 2014 and 2016. In the Philippines, the Republic Act (RA) 10654, amending the RA 8550 known as The Philippines Fishery Code of 1998, prescribes that any species listed under CITES are protected until the sustainability of the fishery can be proven.

This resulted in the ban of this targeted fishery effective April 4th 2017. The enforcement of this ban led to the dry docking of all the boats and the halt of the fishing operation. This is a very good news for the conservation of these species, especially in light of the very slow reproduction (one single pup every 2- 3 years) and slow maturation (manta reach sexual maturity at 15 years), therefore not able to sustain any fishing pressure. Moreover, this ban will boost the marine wildlife watching tourism operation in other towns in Bohol and nearby island, like Panglao (Bohol) or Malapascua (Cebu) where those animals used to be seen while cruising around, attracting scuba divers.

However, this dedicated fishery was the main livelihood for these fishermen, and the ban is having dramatic socio- economic consequences in this community. As opposed to Panglao, Jagna is an area where it is not possible to develop a dedicated tourism with these animals, and the income generated in other locations will not benefit the local community affected, further marginalizing these fishermen and their 250 families. This coming June (2017), 122 students will not be able to continue their education as their families’ only source of income has been taken away. These students are between 6 and 22 years old and providing them with the possibility to continue their education, will give them the chance to get out of the fishing business and follow their dreams to build a long-term sustainable future for themselves and their families. Illegal activities and unsustainable fishing practices tend to be associated with poor and marginalized communities and we need your help to break this circle. Keeping them in school will not only ensure them a bright future, but also ensure a future for manta and mobula rays in the Bohol Sea.


How you can help?

The community were not informed of the upcoming legislation until two weeks before the ban and no alternative livelihood program has been introduced to date. School resumes this June 2017 and these families have not been able to prepare for this rapid change. Helping the children to stay in school will give these families the much needed time, supporting the transition towards alternative livelihoods.

The expenses related to school include tuition and legal fees, supplemental mandatory activities such as laboratory programs, sports, books and educational materials. The total amount needed to cover a school year for these 122 students is $14 288 USD, broken down into:

You could get involved in various ways:

  • Host our fundraising event.

A friendly drink with over 40 dive shops and resorts invited. To celebrate the end of the manta fishery here in Bohol, we will be raising awareness on the historical part of this activity and presenting the other side of the reality of the affected families through a short video, as well as the benefits for the diving and tourism industry in Panglao.

  • Auction.

A silent auction will be held during the fundraising event. This is the chance to offer nights in your resort, trips, dives, meal, or bring any useful items that could be auctioned to raise funding at no or limited cost for you.

  • Round up - Your customers' small change will make the big change.

Offer your customers during checkout/final payment the chance to round up their order to the nearest 50 pesos, and donate the difference to the Jagna scholarship program. They will barely notice the difference, but together we can make a significant impact. Get involved on an academic year basis or with a reach of 25,000 PHP, and get your resort recognized by acknowledging your effort, ready for display in your establishment.

  • Adopt a school

Sponsor all the students from a school for the academic year.

  • Donate

Choose between a one-off and a monthly donation, for the duration of your choice, through our Philippines bank account or Paypal, specifically registered for this scholarship program. Please find the details below:


Bank details: 

Account name: Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines Inc.

Address: Cagulada Compound, Brgy Tejero, Jagna, Bohol, Philippines

Bank Name: Banco De Oro, BDO Cebu Ayala Mall Branch

Account number: 007440129544


None of your funding will be retained by the NGO, and all funds will be paid directly to the educational institutions. Our highest priority is to provide these scholarships so the children can continue their education in full form.


Who we are?

Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines Inc. (LAMAVE) is a non-stock non-profit NGO registered in Bohol, Philippines. The LAMAVE teamwork tirelessly for the conservation of marine megafauna like dolphins, turtles, sharks and rays found in the Philippines, by gathering comprehensive scientific data, educating and involving the local communities and promoting sustainable use of marine resources. Our researchers and volunteers work closely with local governments, communities, businesses, and tourists to ensure the sustainable management of these animals and their habitats through science and education.

For more information, please contact scholarship@lamave.org or Joshua Rambahiniarison at +639 561 225 687.