Warning Nature Foundation: Injuring rays prohibitedPOSTED: 07/30/13 11:06 AM
GREAT BAY – The St. Maarten Nature Foundation received numerous reports last weekend about a group of people who were intentionally harming baby rays at the far end of Mullet Bay Beach, the foundation stated in a press release.
During the summer months rays give birth to very delicate and fragile offspring that are very sensitive to disturbances. “We were called by a family that was enjoying the beach regarding some individuals spearing baby rays for fun. This is very worrying and we responded to the call. We let all involved know that not only is the intentional harming of sharks and rays prohibited, but that there should in general be more of a respect for life than that,” the Nature Foundation said in the statement.
The practice of intentionally fishing for sharks has been forbidden since October 12, 2011, when the Ministry of Tourism, economic affairs, Transport and Telecommunication banned the practice of intentionally poaching sharks in the territorial waters of St. Maarten. The act of trying to catch by tracking, stalking, baiting, chasing, trapping, hooking, netting, shooting or otherwise hunting – sharks, rays and skates is prohibited and therefore the animals may not be wounded, caught, landed, or killed. Violators may be punished with jail-time and a considerable fine may be issued. If sharks are accidentally caught all steps should be taken to release the animal with as little harm as possible, the foundation pointed out.