It’s always fascinating to see anglers at work, especially when they catch a large fish.
So, one man’s morning exercise became a little more exciting after witnessing an angler reel in a rare shovelnose ray.
In a 44-second clip uploaded onto TikTok yesterday (Nov 20), the man, who goes by the username Norwegiantrout, shared that he was jogging at Bedok Jetty one morning when he saw an angler fighting a fish with a small crowd gathered around him.
After a while of tugging, the angler could be seen trying to reel in the critically endangered shovelnose ray up to the jetty. However, just as he was about to hoist the fish over the railing with a fish gaff, the ray broke loose and fell back into the water.
“Hope it heals from that,” said Norwegiantrout.
He also shared that while he’s aware that shovelnose rays exist in Singapore waters, he has never seen one before but understands these are endangered.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, shovelnose rays, which are also known as white-spotted wedgefishes, are indeed considered a critically endangered species.
In the comments, several netizens also expressed concern over the fish, that it’s painful for the fish and that it was a good thing it managed to slip away.
One even said that the ray now has a new piercing.
However, on the other end of the spectrum, others clarified that anglers in Singapore will usually will release shovelnose rays, with some adding that such fish are typically brought to land to have the hook removed.
National Parks Board (NParks) also advises anglers to release endangered and threatened species to “maintain our rich biodiversity”.
Norwegiantrout later also clarified that he may have “misjudged” the angler’s intentions.
AsiaOne has reached out to Noregiantrout for more details.
Endangered or delicious?
Unfortunately, while shovelnose rays are endangered, some foodies enjoy it as a delicacy.
Commonly found in a dish called shark head, the fish is usually promoted as a dish rich in collagen that can help skin elasticity, reported Today in 2019.
Sue Ye, founder of marine conservation group Marine Stewards, pointed out that the rays are usually sold in local supermarket chains for $13 per kg then.
She also added that it is important to spread awareness of shovelnose rays as not many Singaporeans are aware that the species may be becoming extinct.
Even though they later released it back into the water, several netizens argued that it is best not to catch the creature at all.
However, others also praised the anglers’ decision to catch and release the fish, arguing that they did nothing wrong.
Endangered species like shovelnose rays aren’t the only fish that people are concerned about — opinions have been voiced out about regular stingrays too.
Earlier in March, several anglers at East Coast Park were seen cutting up and preparing the fish.
The creature was about 1.5m long and suspected to be a mangrove whipray, a common species found in Singapore.
While some praised them for their catch, others felt differently and commented that such “wildlife should not be disturbed”.