Photo by Steve Ryan/Wikimedia Commons
Each summer, cownose rays (named for their uniquely-shaped heads) are targets of unethical sport hunts in Maryland waters.
Participants in contests compete to shoot the heaviest rays, making pregnant females prime targets, then haul them onto boats and often bludgeon them with a metal bat or hammer. Some rays are still alive when thrown into piles and slowly suffocate to death.
After tournament winners are chosen, the dead rays are dumped back into the water or left to rot along the shore. With no commercial fishery for rays, there is no government regulation of these events and participants often kill as many rays as possible. Cownose rays are important to the Bay’s ecosystem and their slow reproductive rate makes the species vulnerable to overexploitation.
Two bills in the Maryland legislature now need your support in order to prevent these ecologically destructive killing contests. SB268 and HB211 will prohibit sponsoring, conducting or participating in cownose ray killing events for prizes, entertainment or other incentives.
Please make a brief, polite phone call to your delegate who serves on House Environment and Transportation Committee. You can simply say, "Please support SB268 and HB211 to prevent cownose ray killing contests in order to protect the Chesapeake Bay’s ecosystem.”
After your call, use the form below to send a follow-up message. Editing your message will help it stand out.