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A Sportsman’s Perspective on Rays

ecently I read your Editor’s Note about the stingray tournaments (August PropTalk page 10). I also read Kaylie Jasinski’s article, which I found much better written than yours. It appeared she actually did some research. First, let me go on the record by saying I did not participate in, nor do I condone the tournaments or senseless killing of stingrays or any other species. I am a DNR volunteer since 2008 and have been heavily involved in wildlife conservation for many years as well. Your article struck a chord with me. You were quick to assume many things, and I found it contradictory. First, you said there was a difference between fishing tournaments and the stingray tournaments. There may be some truth to that, but again, a lot of assumptions are taking place here. You’re assuming that your readers send in pictures of fish they intend to eat, without knowing what happens to the fish after that picture was taken. Second, you’re assuming that

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everyone at the ray tournament threw out all the rays and that nobody took any meat home. Now let’s address your comment about sharks being the ray’s main predator. This is actually true; however, you left out some facts. You say that we decimated the shark population with our “hunt for sport attitude.” What numbers do you have to support your claim? I’m curious because you go on to say how PropTalk promotes fishing tournaments. Doesn’t that encourage a “hunt for sport attitude”? I wonder how the $10,000 bounty for the local striper tournaments encourages a “hunt for sport attitude”? So why did I choose to respond to your attempt at journalism? Simple. I am a sportsman. Five years ago I emailed the DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service and begged them to look at imposing regulations on stingray fishing. I received no response. I have made several trips over the years with my

brother to the Bay on his boat, and we limit ourselves to three rays for the boat. And we eat every ray we catch. We do not shoot little rays, and if we bring a female onboard, and she is pregnant, we push the pups out (for the record Kaylie, I’ve seen rays birth as many as three at once). I have ray meat in my freezer now, and if cooked properly, it is quite delicious. Makes great artificial crab cakes. In the future, as a reader, and as a sportsman, I would prefer if you would not just make random assumptions and lump all people that participate in a sport together. There are some of us out there who do care, and who do the right thing. One thing we can agree upon is that there is more science needed, and it needs to happen fast. We are noticing considerably fewer rays each year. Regulations are needed, along with seasons and bag limits. Jordan Kane Elkton, MD

PropTalk Magazine September 2015  

Chesapeake Bay Boating