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 email@example.com.
These small-spotted catshark pups hatched at the Aquarium from egg cases that were rescued from Maltese fish markets.
The egg cases are removed from the females, brought to Malta National Aquarium and taken care of until they hatch! Then after 6-9 months, the sharks are released back into the waters.
The other small-spotted catshark and nursehound shark pups are expected to hatch in the coming days/weeks. So far, over 300 sharks have been released!
Today we said goodbye to our interns, Will Redding and Anona Griffiths who have supported us during these unusual months. They have done an amazing job with us, and have contributed greatly, including research, snorkel surveys and fishmarket visits. Will is a Wildlife Conservation student from Nottingham Trent, and Anona is an Environmental Science student from Cardiff University. We wish them well with the rest of their studies.
Will Redding, Nottingham Trent University. BSc in Wildlife Conservation 3rd year student
Anona Griffiths, Cardiff University. Marine Geography BSc 3rd year student
Unfortunately, in these difficult times, we have had to cancel our planned face to face events.
While lockdown restrictions are slowly beginning to ease, we are not yet at the stage where we can re-commence community activities. We will do this as soon as it is safe to do so and we look forward to seeing you again then.
In the meantime, we will continue to keep in contact with you virtually, both here and on social media. We are keen to keep sharing our love of sharks, skates and rays.
Please stay safe and keep in touch.
We were delighted to recognise World Oceans Day 2020 with our first solo online broadcast supported by a live audience. In these strange times it’s great to find new ways to keep in touch and share our love of sharks, skates and rays.
We hope our supporters who couldn’t attend will enjoy this recording of the event.
Many thanks to everyone who joined us, and thanks also to Malta National Aquarium for encouraging us to move to this new technical approach.
Watch this space for more of these video talks, and please let us know if you have a favourite shark/ray related topic you’d like to hear more about. Just add your suggestions in the comments.
We hope you enjoy watching and learning more about our oceans, the role of sharks and how we can all help.
How about giving something different this Easter?
Instead of giving your loved ones a chocolate egg, why not save a baby shark’s life and give them a gift that will add to their feel good pleasure, rather than to their waistline.
Learn more here