Oceanic manta rays are one of the most iconic animals in the ocean. They can grow up to 7 meters across, live over 50 years, and are incredibly intelligent and curious. Because of these traits and their harmless nature, mantas are sought out by divers and snorkelers around the world. Pacific Mexico has historically been one of the most popular destinations to dive and snorkel with oceanic manta rays, providing frequent and predictable encounters that make tourism operations surrounding the species possible. Although the majority of this tourism, valued at $10 million annually, occurs in the Revillagigedo Archipelago, a second hotspot for oceanic manta rays has recently been identified in la Bahia de Banderas on mainland Pacific Mexico. Mantas have extremely low reproductive and population growth rates, making them particularly susceptible to human impacts. Due to increasing demand for their gill plates in traditional Chinese medicine, manta ray populations are declining in many regions around the world in response to both targeted and bycatch fisheries. While mantas are far more valuable alive than dead, and public opinion largely supports protection for the species, our lack of basic ecological research on oceanic manta rays hinders the development of effective conservation and management measures.