FISHERIES Victoria has called for public comment on proposed new rules to reduce the killing of stingrays, skates and guitarfish but an action group wants killing completely banned.
Fisheries is proposing cutting the bag limit from five rays a day a person to one; a 400-metre exclusion zone around human-made structures including jetties, piers and break walls; and a ban on killing rays over 1.5 metres wide.
The 800-member Project Banjo action group, led by Safety Beach resident and scuba diver PT Hirschfield, says the changes “would be a move in the right direction” but the group wanted a complete ban on taking rays.
The group’s move to ban killing gained traction on social media when Ms Hirschfield posted photos of a mutilated ray under Rye pier earlier this year. A petition launched in April garnered more than 28,000 signatures.
Ms Hirschfield was interviewed in The News of 18 April (“Cruel end for ‘puppies’ of the sea”) about the killing of a smooth ray, which “lived” under Rye pier.
Ms Hirschfield said the group had almost 800 members.
Rays were now protected in Western Australia and it was hoped Victoria and other states would follow suit, she said.
“Rays provide benefits to both natural and human-made underwater ecosystems where they perform vital filtration services to maintain habitat health, which will benefit all water users.
“Many recreational fishers, charter companies and fishing identities have publicly expressed their support of our position after seeing disturbing photo and video evidence.”
Fisheries Victoria said it would provide additional education and enforcement initiatives, including signs on piers that attract rays.
Public consultation runs until 14 August. Email responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Banjo details: email@example.com