Stop Annual Stingray Massacre

Stingray Georgia Aquarium

Target: Mark J. Belton, Secretary of Natural Resources, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Goal: End the annual slaughtering of hundreds of stingrays in the Chesapeake Bay.

Every year at Chesapeake Bay, over 100 fisherpeople compete and try to catch the largest stingray. The competition is messy and barbaric. The number of stingrays killed is not counted and the bodies are typically dumped back into the bay after the contest is over. According to news sources, fisherpeople also try to block the unborn young from escaping after their mothers have been injured so they can count toward the weight.

The reason for this mass killing is supposedly to protect oyster farms, however oysters are not a primary food source for stingrays. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) does not regulate the killing of stingrays and it is time they do. Sign this petition and demand the Maryland DNR regulate and end this annual slaughter.


Dear Mr. Belton,

Every summer at Chesapeake Bay, numerous fisherpeople come and compete to see who can catch the largest stingray. The contest is barbaric. The number of stingrays killed is never counted and then their lifeless bodies are thrown back into the ocean when the competition is over. According to news sources, competitors will even barricade the unborn young from escaping after their mothers are badly injured to count them toward the overall weight of the stingray.

Supposedly, the reason for this slaughter is to protect oyster farms, however oysters are not a primary food source for stingrays. It is clear these contest is for entertainment purposes only. These stingrays should not be hurt and killed for entertainment. Please consider regulating and ending this annual, barbaric mass killing.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Georgia Aquarium

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  1. It has come to my attention that every summer in the Chesapeake Bay, as well as its rivers and streams, numerous cownose stingrays are massacred in bowfishing contests comprised of up to 150 fishers who race to catch the heaviest or largest (oftentimes pregnant) animals for cash, prizes, or mere recognition. As stated in news reports (, hunters try to keep the unborn from spilling out of the mortally wounded bodies so that their weight can be added onto their mother’s.

    Tracking the number of stingrays that are wounded or killed is normally not done, and usually the bodies are disposed of in the bay. Hunters assert that stingrays perform these kills to protect oyster farms; however, research (including in the Chesapeake Bay) shows that oysters are not a key food source for these sea animals. Additionally, these stingrays take a seven-year period to become adults, and sometimes only give birth to one offspring after a pregnancy which takes almost a full year. Therefore, mass destruction of these rays may ultimately lead to an endangered ranking.

    Since the Maryland DNR currently does not regulate the slaughter of stingrays, I am asking that you please place a moratorium on these killing contests as well as implement a regulation to prohibit such events.

  2. Michael Gurwitz says:

    The ray killing tournament is an indiscriminate mass slaughter of rays, many of which are pregnant, and it is performed in the most brutal and sadistic ways. I was an eyewitness to last year’s slaughter, and it was sickening.

    Maryland DNR must place a moratorium on these senseless and ecologically destructive tournaments.

  3. lisa bailey says:

    In gods name – what is wrong with the human race ? All this killing, torture, capture ect of animals. How can so many people have no compassion, humamity & empathy ? I despair, i do not care about humans at all.

  4. Amanda Brown says:

    The Oceans Are So Endangered!!!! Why!! Why Would You Do Such A Thing????
    Your Sick,Dangerous Fools And Belong In Jail…

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