Ray Brutality by Fishermen

Ray Brutality by Fishermen

Ray Brutality by Fishermen

By Nicole Buiciuc

  All throughout Port Phillip Bay (a popular tourist region) and Mornington Peninsula, Australia, stingrays and banjo sharks, also referred to as fiddler rays, are being brutally mutilated by fishing hooks. Rays, accidentally caught in the hooks, are wounded and frequently killed by fishermen who, instead of taking a minute longer to carefully retrieve it, rip the hooks from their mouths. Additionally, many fishermen, frustrated after losing their own bait, cut off the tails and barbs of stingrays to use as bait. The venomous spines along their tails are their prime source of protection from other aquatic creatures, like sharks. Many are alive and slowly suffering when they are found by divers. As a result, divers have to face a heartbreaking decision: leave the rays in pain or euthanize them. There are many advocacy groups and campaigns helping to raise awareness with the goal of banning this slaughtering altogether. PT Hirschfield, a diver and underwater photographer, claimed to have seen “rays chopped in half with the live half thrown back in, rays that had been paralyzed…and others that had been dealt cranial splits.” There have been cases where fishermen intentionally slaughtered rays, likely to prevent them from eating the fish they hope to catch, or out of anger of repeatedly catching rays. Ultimately, divers decided to euthanize the injured rays.

An anti-cruelty law by Fisheries Victoria 2009, Regulation 101 states that aquatic creatures must be returned to the sea without harm. Those who are caught throwing dead stingrays back into the ocean face fines ranging from $310 up to $2000.

Besides the brutality of these occurrences, one of the most astounding aspects of this is that they can easily be avoided. If fishermen switch to lightweight sinkers, then the hooks and bait would be safely out of the habitat of bottom-feeding rays. Additionally, with the small purchase of a few hook removal tools, any ray that ingests the bait can have the hook safely removed from its mouth by fishermen.

Thanks to a ray awareness petition that was signed by 32,684 people and submitted to the Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, Fisheries Victoria Director Travis Dowling, and VRFish CEO Michael Burgess the killing of rays in Port Phillip Bay has been banned. However, while definitely less frequent, these brutal killings still occur. To keep up with more recent cases or sightings of hurt rays, you can visit the following link: 



Smith, Shayla. “These ‘Puppies Of The Sea’ Are Being Killed In The Worst Way.” The Dodo, The Dodo, 3 Aug. 2017, www.thedodo.com/impact/stingray-killing-australia