Sam Griffin's picture

Thornback ray

Observed: 2nd May 2011 By: Sam Griffin
Cumberland Bat GroupCumbria Amphibian and Reptile GroupThe British Herpetological Society
Sam Griffin’s reputation in FishSam Griffin’s reputation in Fish
Apr11 013

5 of these tails found within 50m of each other on the beach. What might have caused this? Do they shed their tails like lizards? Have they been cut off by fishermen..?

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Blewit Boy's picture


It would have been kinder to have returned these fine fish to the water. As fish for the table, they take an awful lot of preparation and do not make particularly good eating anyway. I'm sorry to say there remain a few pockets of tradition among some commercial fishermen that you don't land the whole fish, you remove the edible part (the wings) at sea, and throw the rest, body & tail, back into the sea. Perhaps what you found was what was left of several thornbacks thrown back at the same time after crabs had nibbbled away any remaining soft tissue. This kind of practice is not something that most conservation-minded anglers condone or care to see.


trudy-russell's picture

They seem to be very neatly

They seem to be very neatly cut and arranged so I wouldn't have thought that a crab had been at them, perhaops to make transport the rays home easier they just cut the tails off?

Trudy Russell
Marine Advisor
Natural England

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Sam Griffin's picture

I arranged them!

They were scattered along the tide line, but I collected them and arranged them on the stump for a photo. Its not the first time I've found these on beaches in the area, but I'd never seen them in such high density. I think they must have been cut off by fishermen. What a shame.