Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dear Cownose Stingrays: Prepare to DIE.

My first screw-you from Chesapeake stingrays was in 2003 when I was wading from a late-night barbecue back to the boat and stepped on enough big rays that I was knocked off balance.

And now these bastards are posing a dire threat to my precious Bay. From Bay Journal:
"And they can have voracious appetites. Cownose rays are, after all, relatively large. Adult males average about 35 inches in width and weigh about 26 pounds. At one aquaculture project ... a school of cownose rays ate 60,000 oysters in a single night."
60,000!! Those sons of bitches are taking my beloved oysters and destroying the Bay as they go. (Watch this video about the importance of oysters to the health of the Bay). And they're killing the Bay grasses as well:
“If a school of rays come in, the area looks like a bomb field ... There are craters everywhere, and we can see large mats of uprooted grass floating around.”
The problem is that no one wants to eat these beasts. Would you order "Cownose Stingray" from a restaurant menu? People have been trying to develop a local fishery and market for these terrible-tasting monsters to no success. I've heard cownose ray smells noxious when cooked and are bloody as hell when brought onto a boat.

So I'm going to do my small part to improve the health of the Chesapeake: Me and my friends are going to kill as many cownose rays as possible with a bow-and-arrow during my annual sailing trip. The plan is to tie a fishing line and rod to the end of an arrow. We'll then be on the lookout for rays schooling up the Chesapeake a la Captain Quint in Jaws. As soon as one is spotted, we shoot. I plan to try and eat the meat, but if it tastes as terrible as they say, I have no problem killing them and throwing them back as crab food.

This is the moral thing to do. It's not like we're gonna go out and kill spotted owls or spear rockfish.

(Photo credit)


  1. Supposing you use rockfish as bait...and fletch the arrows with spotted owl feathers...

    I'd never heard of these cownose rays before. Are they native to the bay or an invasive species?

  2. CS,

    They come in from the Atlantic every year around now to spawn in the Chesapeake and eat and eat and eat. Then they all leave back to the ocean in the fall. They've spotted schools of them allegedly in the millions.

  3. Aw man, and I remember a really nice open letter to these cownose rays...

  4. EM,

    Yes, I know. I take that back.

  5. Anonymous11:12 AM

    Use a cookie cutter and punch out discs from the wings. Do these beasts have wings? Remove the skin from the "cookies", rinse the skinless cookies, and then cook them in a pot with simmering chili sauce or Bar-B-Que them and bast with the chili sauce. Serve with a fancy name; e.g., "Australian style scallops with chili", or use your imagination and make up a more appropriate name. These will go over well with folks after they've had a few drinks!

  6. Anonymous12:12 PM

    make wallets out of them!!

  7. shrubs12:18 PM

    I can't imagine a more awesome thing to do.

  8. Anonymous12:50 PM

    I hope that Disney doesn't make a movie about these cownose rays. Then you will get the flak that deer hunters get.


  9. I think we can train them to be nice, Maybe breed them to eat tin cans or sewage? or if we can construct a harness maybe we can navigate the bay using Ray power?!?!?

  10. Anonymous3:58 PM

    I echo the "scallops" idea. I used to catch a ton of rays, shark fishing, down in New Orleans. A buddy of mine who grew up there swore that his family used to sell the ray fins to restaurants who punched holes in them and sold them as scallops. Who knows.


  11. Anonymous5:16 PM

    I have a feeling that this endeavor will result in:
    1. A good story
    2. A late night trip to the emergency room of some podunk hospital
    3. Possible scarring, disfigurement and trauma... for the humans and the rays
    4. We'll all learn a little something along the way, like the way Captain Ron taught us all to loosen up and follow our dreams and stuff.

  12. Bow and arrow is code for semi automatic 12 gauge.

    I'll bring the buckshot.


  13. Anonymous3:40 PM

    Maybe a Cownose would taste better if you caught one and fed it grain for a few days; feed it until it's excretory systems dispensed with all the foul-tasting substances that it accumulated while eating the seaweeds and muck on the bottom of the Bay.

  14. Say hello to my little bow........ you stinking cownose!!!!

  15. Anonymous3:55 PM

    "Captain John Smith learned the hard way about the cownose ray's spine. During his 1608 voyage he was stung so severely that his crew thought he was going to die. The site on the Rappahannock River where he was stung is still known today as "Stingray Point." "

  16. Anonymous7:59 AM

    What is wrong with you? Since when did you become the god of the oceans? Leave the rays alone. Don't they have a right to feed?

    Unless the rays come knocking on your front door, attacking your family and stealing your shit, what gives you the right?

    Why would you write crap like this and encourage slaughter and torture of any living creature. Take a look at some of the comments.

    And as for monsters - the only monsters I can see are the ones that encourage killing for pleasure.

    Play video games doughnut!

  17. Anonymous8:15 PM

    I did my part on Friday. I was fishing out of sheepshead bay in Brooklyn and a group was swimming around. three was caught out of our boat me being one of them. We felt the same way as they were eating to the clam bed. The are now on eternal patrol.