It seems Ms Petrie (Compass 13 September)is hell bent on shutting down Stingray City.
Firstly none of the items on her list will allay tourists’ fears, so isn’t just better to trim our rays’ barbs from the outset? (Worldwide aquariums do this.)
As for inbreeding, I’ve yet to see a cross-eyed stingray. Daily feedings probably allow them to rocket through the channel, zoom up to West Bay and North Side at nighttime, finding various mates for lovemaking. (We’ll never know unless they’re electronically tagged.)
As for their diet…it would behoove Ms Petrie to note on The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s website of the many years it took them by trial and error to hit upon the perfect diet as their captive tunas kept dying from heart attacks, (due to lessened activity and fish diet). Not until they made squid 90 per cent of their diet, did tunas thrive.
If we stop frolicking with our rays and don’t pick them up anymore, is this going to change their personalities? Shouldn’t we just trim their barbs and focus on that sneaky, pesky hammerhead that keeps nipping a ray for lunch even when tourists are there…and plus to prevent another Bahamas incident? Not to mention boats have to continually prod another one back into the deep off the 7-Mile Beach! (Oh, that only Mitchum Ebanks were still around.)
For the record, it was a huge Bull Stingray (some 220 pounds, according to Ben Cropp, who gave an eye-witness account of Steve Irwin’s demise). He said the cameraman was in front of it, apparently spooked it, causing it to veer, whipping at Steve. Found only around Australia, Africa, New Zealand, Bulls have humongous serrated barbs located at their tail ends, giving them a more powerful leverage to discharge barbs. Unlike our Southern Stingrays found in the Caribbean, these have smaller, spiny barbs located at beginning of their tails, not ends.
Another situation dive operators need to amalgamate on is the raw sewage being pumped into the ground, seeping into the waters around us. (Sewage comes in so fast from West Bay, mostly hotels, that aeration pumps have become useless and the eight-hour pool sitting isn’t happening. Some claim this started back in 1999!) This wrecks clarity, wildlife and causes Black Fungus to occur. (Not to mention the dump also leaches.) This is the true Damocles’ dagger hanging over us and it will interfere with the natural dolphin habitant they expect to make in the North Sound.