Young Fishermen Catch and Release Huge Critically Endangered Shovel Rays at Bedok Jetty – Mothership.SG
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Two young fishermen recently landed a surprise catch off Bedok Pier.
Teo Xue Shen and Ho Song Thye, both 23, were fishing at the pier on January 16 late at night.
The couple are part of Jives Fishing, a group that promotes sustainable fishing practices in Singapore.
I thought they caught a stingray
Talk to Mothership, Teo shared that they initially thought a large stingray had taken the bait.
Teo and Ho only realized it was a shovel-shaped ray when it surfaced.
It took them approximately 6 minutes and 31 seconds to bring the huge fish back, as they encountered difficulties getting it back to the pier while minimizing damage, fatigue and time out of the water.
Pulling it out of the water, Teo estimated that the shovelnose ray was between 1.7m and 2m long and weighed around 20kg.
Doing ‘our best’ in releasing critically endangered catches
They shared in an Instagram post on the Jives Fishing page that catching an individual of this species is tantamount to reaching the pinnacle of surf fishing in Singapore.
This is probably due to its impressive size – they can reach up to 2.7m – and its rarity.
Shovel rays are classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Due to its endangered status, Teo and Ho then released it back into the waters after taking a picture with their precious catch.
Although Jives Fishing’s aim is to fish sustainably, the group said in their post that they understand the feelings of those who want to conserve their catch.
“The effort of thousands of casts, hundreds of hours of waiting, resistance to the elements and so many other factors make a prized catch like this all the more coveted as a family take-out food.”
However, Jives Fishing believes that “some things are more important than that”, and that by conserving the species, future generations of anglers will have the opportunity to marvel at the shovel ray as Teo and Ho did. this night.
As such, they are simply doing their best to protect the species by releasing it back into the wild.
“Singapore has no laws to protect this species (or any other species for that matter) from recreational fishing. And if nobody wants to be the idiot who lets their dinner swim free, then this fish is on its way extinction for sure. We don’t know how far this individual will go in conserving the species, but at this point we can only do our best.”
Here are some of the other catches from Jives Fishing.
Catch and release
Jives Fishing decides which fish to keep for consumption or release based on guidelines set by Marine Stewards, a sustainable fishing group.
The Marine Stewards website also includes a list of mature lengths of fish found in Singapore waters, to help anglers identify juveniles.
According to the National Parks Board (NParks), catch and release should apply to endangered species, juvenile fish and breeding animals. In addition, fish that are caught but will not be eaten should also be released.
Additionally, NParks and Marine Stewards have set up an information board at Bedok Jetty, which features common fish species found there, along with a catch and release list.
Learn more about the shovel ray
Shovelnose rays may look like sharks with their dorsal finds pointing up, but they are actually rays, as their name suggests.
The species is critically endangered as individuals are often hunted for their meat, which is considered a delicacy and used in a dish known as “shark head”.
In 2019, Mothership visited an NTUC FairPrice outlet and found shovel rays being sold at rather affordable prices.
They are also commonly seen being sold at Jurong Fishing Port.
And while the international trade in critically endangered animals like the shovel ray is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), that protection is not. extended to shovel rays caught in Singapore waters and sold locally. .
Currently, fishing is only permitted in certain reservoirs, waterways, and parks, including Bedok Jetty at East Coast Park.
Photo from the top of Jives Fishing