Sharklab-Malta and Nature Trust are lobbying the maltese government to give legal protection to bull-rays in Maltese waters. Sharklab-Malta were founders of the “Fly with Bull rays” international research project.https://sharklab-malta.org/fly-with-bull-rays/
This is a report in the Times of Malta
So far our interns have seen two bull-rays shot in front of them. Admittedly they were not in the swimming zone but just outside it. However, in one case the spearfisher shot BETWEEN the two interns and in the other, from just beside one of them. Our interns were fully equipped with a surface marker buoy and flag for allowing boats and others of their presence. One of our interns, who happens to be Maltese, had a “free and frank” discussion with one of the spearfishers, who told them that he could do what he liked and if they didn’t like it they should go somewhere else. Luckily neither of our interns were physically hurt but understandably they were very upset. The spearfishers left the bull rays to die – it seems that they only shoot them for “sport” as the meat is not very nice to eat, but they are a big enough and harmless enough target to make for an easy shot – how sportsmanlike!. The good news is that bull rays are very tough, we have evidence that if shot in a non-critical area they will heal quickly and can even have their tail removed (presumably by a fisherman who wanted to ensure that if he caught the bull ray again he would not have to worry about the sting in it’s tail).
If you see a bull ray, please let us know via our website (https://sharklab-malta.org/report-a-ray-skate-sighting/), or send us details (and preferably a picture) via firstname.lastname@example.org.