February 25th, 2016 (Derek Baldwin). Dozens of cow-nosed rays discarded by commercial anglers on beach, expats say.
Ras Al Khaimah : The discovery of dozens of cownose rays strewn across sandy beaches here have angered some expatriates living nearby who watched local anglers throwing away rays that were accidentally caught in fishing nets pulled ashore.
The rays were left for dead by fishermen who have no commercial use for the rays after they have pulled in a day’s worth of fish they can sell at the market, said one woman who lives nearby.
In an interview with Gulf News on Thursday, the Dutch expatriate said she discovered the dead fish roughly 300 metres southwest of the Rixos Bab Al Bahr resort in Ras Al Khaimah on a thin strip of beach between Gulf waters and highway E11.
She watched helplessly as local anglers pulled dozens of the rays from their nets but didn’t bother putting them back into the water.
“When you see this many stingrays on the beach dead and dying, it’s a disaster. It’s heartbreaking what they are doing,” said the woman who was so angry, she contacted RAK authorities for intervention.
“I have contacted the authorities and they cleaned the beach, but I don’t know what else to do.”
Her friends also witnessed the incident around 2:30pm on Tuesday after fishing boats came to shore, she said.
The practice, the woman said, was a disregard for wildlife and conservation.
Asked by Gulf News, a marine expert in the UAE identified the fish as cownosed rays.
He said on Thursday the sight of the dead rays was “shameful and senseless.”
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, varities of cownose rays are listed as near threatened in part due to incidental catching of the fish in commercial gill and trawling nets by commercial anglers around the world.
Cow nosed rays
Diet : Crabs, snails, lobster, oysters
Size : More than two metres from tip to tip