UPDATE: The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has missed the deadline to put in place a management plan for cownose rays. New legislation has been introduced to extend the deadline for the plan and also extend the bowfishing contest moratorium for another two years.
MARYLAND RESIDENTS: please contact your state senator to request their support of SB 143, and your three delegates to request their support of HB 213. (Both bills are entitled Cownose Ray Fishery Management Plan and Moratorium on Contests.) You can find your legislators here.
Governor Hogan has signed the cownose ray bills into law! The law puts a moratorium on fishing contests for cownose rays until July 1, 2019, and calls on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to develop a management plan for the rays by the end of 2018. We are hopeful that it will result in a permanent ban on these contests.
Fish Feel and Save the Rays Coalition thank you for helping the rays!
Graphic Undercover Investigation of Maryland Massacre
Save the Rays Maryland
Video above: From Save the Cownose Rays Coalition, a grassroots coalition of non-profit organizations working to ban inhumane cownose rays killing contests held in the Chesapeake Bay and its Maryland tributaries. Join us and support legislation to ban these contests! http://www.savetheraysmd.org
Graphic undercover video of a killing contest that occurred on June 13th documents the horrific slaughter of cownose rays of the Chesapeake Bay. Shot with arrows at point-blank range, the rays were then gaffed and repeatedly clubbed with bats before slowly suffocating to death.
Every year, graceful cownose rays, a type of eagle ray, migrate to the Chesapeake Bay to mate and give birth to their pups. As they glide along the water’s surface, bowfishers competing for prize money descend upon them in boats and shoot them point blank with arrows, impale them, club them repeatedly with metal bats, and pile them into a box to suffocate. Many of the victims are pregnant.
Fish Feel teamed up with SHARK to document this outrageous and perverted animal abuse. “There is no valid justification for the vicious massacre of these gentle creatures who are merely trying to survive. Scientists and the government have expressed disapproval of such reckless slaughter, and of the grave environmental consequences that could result,” said Mary Finelli, President of Fish Feel.
“These people have no respect for life. They shoot arrows into these beautiful animals swimming slowly at the surface, many whom may be pregnant, and drag them out of the water by hooks, beat them mercilessly with metal clubs, and then throw them still alive into boxes where they slowly suffocate to death. Then, we saw bowhunters dumping the bodies into the river like garbage. This is an atrocity and it must end now,” added Michael Gurwitz, who witnessed this massacre.
Additional cownose ray killing contests were also held on June 27, 2015 at Buzzards Point Marina in Reedville, VA, and on June 28, 2015 at Hallowing Point Marina in Prince Frederick, MD. The image below, which shows the rays in a dumpster as if they were trash, was taken at the Reedville slaughter.
Cownose rays thrown in the dumpster along with trash after being weighed at the Reedville, VA slaughter
More details and photos are in this Animals 24/7 article.
Cownose Rays in the Chesapeake Bay: What do we know? –
10/22/2015Scientific workshop report on cownose rays in the Chesapeake Bay
Critical Assessment and Ramifications of a Purported Marine Trophic Cascade – 2/15/2016Scientific report vindicating the cownose rays
Undersea Flyers Persecuted For Uncommitted Sins – Outdoor America – Fall 2015
Cownose Rays Aquitted: Not Guilty of Decimating Chesapeake Oysters – Smithsonian – 4/11/2016
Study Challenges Blaming Rays for Chesapeake Oyster Collapse – The Baltimore Sun – 3/11/2016
Marine Ecosystem Management Requires Intelligent Tinkering – Marine Fish Conservation Network – 3/9/2016
Ray Fillets Won’t Save the Bay – Discover Magazine – 2/24/2016
Study: Cownose Rays Not the Bad Guys of the Bay – Daily Press – 2/19/2016
Determining the Fate of the Cownose Ray – WVTF Public Radio – 2/19/2016
Researchers Set Record Straight on Sharks and Cownose Rays – Florida State 24/7 – 2/19/2016