Stumpy stingray was an icon at Hamelin Bay, the giant old stingray recognised by his missing barb had frequented the beach for at least 20 years to be patted by local children and fed by the local campground staff. The stingray experience is even marketed as a tourism attraction for the south west.
I was there this summer and even as an experienced diver couldn’t help but marvel at the number of giant stingrays and eagle rays at the beach, and get caught up in the excitement of the crowd of children, locals and tourists alike.
Yet Stumpy’s life came to a tragic end just two weeks ago, speared and hacked to death whilst still alive in front of screaming children, before being packed in an esky and taken away – as reported by the Sunday Times. At time of writing this blog, there were 350 comments on the story, mostly expressing rage.
The locals, however, under leadership of the local camping ground, have banded together to ensure Stumpy’s death will not be in vain. They have started a petition, which will be delivered to the Fisheries and Environment Ministers at the end of February, calling for a new special marine sanctuary to protect the rays of Hamelin Bay. Stumpy’s tragic death was completely legal under WA laws, and a marine sanctuary is the best way to provide protection to the rays in the bay.
You can help too! Stingray petition Document, get some friends to sign it, and send it back to the Hamelin Bay Caravan Park –
Hamelin Bay Holiday Park
PO Box 4, Karridale WA 6288
It’s also available for signing at the Augusta Newsagency.
The petition text says:
“This is a petition to the minister for fisheries to help protect the iconic stingrays of Hamelin bay by declaring the area from the Hamelin Bay Headland to 100mteres to the East of the Hamelin Bay boat ramp a Stingray sanctuary zone.
This will prevent a repeat of a recent event in which “STUMPY” a large Smooth Ray without a tail and a regular visitor to the area for the past 15 years at least being killed in front of families and children, if you wish to see the Stingrays of Hamelin bay protected for future generations then please sign this petition.”
Less than 1% of WA’s unique waters are protected, and it means there are no safe places for big old fish like Stumpy to grow old and give joy to our children. It is something that needs to be fixed, hopefully Stumpy will be an example to us all of why we need to better value, and protect, our ocean wildlife. That way, his death will not be in vain.