GOOLWA BEACH – The discovery of more than a dozen eagle rays caught and left on Goolwa beach has disgusted local fishermen.
Recreational angler Steve Darlington posted a photo on Facebook of the rays, which he discovered early on Thursday, February 9.
The photo was posted on the South Australian Mulloway Fishing page, and the act was condemned by members of the group.
Goolwa Coastcare co-ordinator Ben Simon said he was “shocked, appalled, but not surprised” when he heard about the incident.
“Fortunately, people who do this sort of thing are the minority, and the majority of people that use Goolwa beach are conscientious and respectful of local wildlife,” Mr Simon said.
“Vehicle access to the beach is a privilege, not a given, those sorts of activities certainly don’t shed a good life on people having open access to that area.
“This sort of act is a rarity and fortunately most people respect the privilege that they have to be able to go down on the beach.”
Mr Simon urged anglers to release rays or other species of marine life that are caught.
“Goolwa Coastcare is impressed with the way the majority of people look after the local environment, but if anyone sees that sort of activity notify the authorities such as Fisheries or DEWNR.”
Local angler Des Thomson said although rays are considered to be a nuisance to anglers, they should be released when caught.
“To leave them floundering out on the beach is barbaric, it definitely does go on though, both from beaches and the jetties,” Mr Thomson said.
“Eagle rays are the most notorious, because they give you a hell of a fight. It can be frustrating, because they stretch all your tackle and bend the hooks and everything like that.
“But they’re a marvellous creature, they really are. They don’t do any harm, and what was done was just absolute stupidity.”
Des said he has never heard of so many being caught in one session.
“I didn’t think they were such a school fish.”
Mr Simon said Coastcare is advocating for closer monitoring of Goowla Beach access in the future.
“There’s some positive signs suggesting vehicle numbers on the beach will be more closely monitored. Limiting the number of vehicles on the beach would be a good thing for safety as much as anything else,” Mr Simon said.