ALERT! Maryland House Panel to Consider Ban on Cownose Ray Tournaments

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Take Action Today! Maryland sportsmen should contact their State Delegate right away. Ask your Delegate to vote NO on Senate Bill 268. Sportsmen can locate their State Delegate by using the Sportsmen’s’ Alliance Legislative Action Center. The hearing on March 22 will be held at 1 pm, in room 250 of the House Office Building in Annapolis. Interested sportsmen should plan to attend and register as an opponent of Senate Bill 268.

A panel of Maryland legislators will hold a hearing on whether to ban tournaments for cownose rays. On March 22, the Maryland House Environment and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing at 1 p.m. on Senate Bill 268, which would ban cownose ray tournaments or contests.

The tournaments are popular with bow fishermen, and an effective means of controlling ray numbers and protecting the fishery. Not surprisingly, the tournaments have come under attack by animal-rights groups. According to a 2007 study on the population growth of the species, their climbing numbers may prove harmful to the scallop industry in the bay. According to a 2015 report on the Chesapeake Bay, ray numbers are thought to be a threat to the state’s seafood industry especially, specifically soft-shell clams. 

House Bill 211 sponsored by Rep. Shane Robinson (D- Montgomery Village) and Senate Bill 268 sponsored by Sen. Ronald N. Young (D- Frederick) would prohibit the tournaments. On February 13, the Maryland Senate approved SB 268 by a vote of 46-0. 

“Decisions on the management of fish and wildlife should be made by Maryland’s professional fish and wildlife biologists, and not become part of the political process,” said Luke Houghton, associate director of state services for the Sportsmen’s Alliance.”

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.  Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: OnlineFacebookTwitter and Instagram.