A diver was spotted harpooning and killing a bull ray in the Mellieħa Bay area by members of Sharklab Malta – a local environmental NGO – despite national efforts to conserve the species.
Sharklab Malta members witnessed this incident taking place last week, whilst they were surveying the Mellieħa Bay area.
When members of the NGO approached the diver to bring up the conservation problems faced by this species, he acted indifferently. Needless to say, local environmentalists were outraged by the diver’s actions.
In light of this incident, Nature Trust Malta and Sharklab Malta have joined forces to lobby with the national authorities to provide species like the Bull ray full protection.
“The Bull ray population is on the fast lane of population decline”, Nature Trust said, “As with many other species in the Mediterranean, it risks becoming extinct.”
This species is particularly vulnerable due to the fact that it lives in relatively shallow waters and is slow moving.
Nature Trust Malta and Sharklab Malta are appealing to the Environment and Fisheries authorities to take action to legally protect this species.