Order Protecting Spotted Eagle Rays Issued

BERNEWS
Oct 12, 2010

Order Protecting Spotted Eagle Rays Issued

October 12, 2010 by bernews · 5 Comments

On October 6th the Minister of Environment and Sports issued a protection order for Spotted Eagle Rays on the advice of the Department of Conservation Services.

MAjemian_SER2

Action was initiated in mid-August based on observations by Bermuda Aquarium Museum & Zoo that the Spotted Eagle Ray was increasingly being targeted by recreational fisherman.

If convicted the penalty for the first offense is $5000 fine or 6 months imprisonment and $10,000 or 6 months imprisonment for subsequent offenses.

The spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari) is most easily recognized by white spots on its black or bluish back (the ray’s main body is called the disc), and the underside is creamy or white. It swims by “flying” gracefully through the water via the undulation of the pectoral fins. In open waters, spotted eagle rays often form large schools and swim close to the surface. It is capable of leaping completely out of the water when pursued. They eat squid, sea urchins, shell fish, as well as bony fish.

MAjemian_SER1

The spotted eagle ray is commonly found in tropical waters like Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. It can swim long distances across open waters as evidenced by its presence in Bermuda. In Bermuda spotted eagle rays are commonly found in shallow inshore waters such as bays and coral reefs. They are commonly seen in Harrington Sound which recent research has found to be one of their main feeding grounds.

The Spotted Ray has a slow growth rate (4-6 years to reach maturity). Females only bear a maximum of four pups per litter with a gestation period of approximately 1 year. In addition to the small litter size, the schooling behaviour of these animals and natural inshore habitat expose them highly to inshore fishing and exploitation.

“Traditionally in Bermuda, the Spotted Eagle Ray has rarely been eaten because of its poor quality of flesh. Due to their slow reproductive rate over fishing could happen very quickly and easily do irreparable damage to Bermuda’s population of rays,” said Dr Samia Sarkis of Conservation Services.

MAjemian_SER3

The species is listed as Near Threatened on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Red List of Threatened species and vulnerable in Bermuda local waters. This species is protected in Florida State waters, Australia, South Africa and Maldives. The Bermuda Government has also recognized the vulnerability of this species and has endevoured to ensure that this species will be protected and thrive in Bermuda waters.

Minister Blakeney said: “Acting so quickly on an alarming increased level of recreational fishing for the species shows foresight by the Ministry of the Environment and Sports. The issuance of this order was made possible through the hard work and overwhelming support of all parties involved. It is an action which will be recognized by international environmental organizations, bringing a positive image of Bermuda worldwide and setting it as an example for the wider Caribbean region.”

[Thanks to Matt Ajemian for the photos. You can read more about the ecological role of Bermudian spotted eagle rays here on the BermudaBream blog]

Connect with Us

News and Media Articles

Sep 19, 2013

The Fall 2013 Bermuda Natural History Course is set to begin next month, courtesy of the Bermuda Zoological Society.

Sep 16, 2013

This year’s winner of the Steinhoff/Bermuda Zoological Society (BZS) $7,000 scholarship is no stranger to the Aquarium.

Sep 13, 2013

Deloitte announced Hannah Gibbons as the 2013 Deloitte Scholarship recipient, valued at $15,000 per year for up to two years.

Sep 11, 2013

Since July, the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo [BAMZ] has had 15 longtails brought in for rehabilitation, thanks to calls from the public, including three adults and 12 chicks. To date, 10 have already been released, and one will be released soon.

Sep 10, 2013

Over 100 people participated in the first ever Reef Watch hosted by the Bermuda Zoological Society that raised more than $21,000 for reef conservation awareness.

Sep 6, 2013

On Saturday [Aug 31], 21 boats made their way to over 40 reef sites around the island to take survey of the state of the coral, color and quantity of specific types of fish.

Sep 6, 2013

Who knew that armed with just mask, snorkel, clipboard and a hula-hoop you can become a citizen scientist?

Sep 4, 2013

The inaugural Reef Watch citizen science research and awareness drive on Saturday has so far so far raised some $15k.

« 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ... 26 »
Limit By Year

Media Enquiries

Development Officer
Phone: (441) 293-2727 ext. 2136
Email: development.bzs@gov.bm