Though the manta ray trade is powerful, there is hope for manta ray protection. In February 2014, Indonesia's Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) banned the hunting and trade of manta rays in the country. These arrests mark the first action taken against manta traffickers under the new regulations.
"We have succeeded to thwart the illegal trade of manta gill plates, which was recently listed as a protected species by the Government of Indonesia" said Asep Burhanudin, the Director General of Marine and Fisheries Resources Surveillance of MMAF.
Now, Hilton and officials are looking to prosecute one of the kingpins involved in the manta trade, who will appear in court in mid October, 2014, in Surabaya, Indonesia. Read more about Hilton's experience with the investigation here.