Residents outraged at stingray dump

By Aimee van der Weyden of the Westport News

A local posted a picture of the ray at North Beach to Facebook.
A local posted a picture of the ray at North Beach to Facebook.

Westport residents are outraged a local fisherman allegedly dumped a sizeable dead stingray at North Beach earlier this week.

The 122kg ray was caught in the Buller River on March 29, according to a photo posted to Facebook. The photo showed the ray hanging up at Westport's fishing wharf, with the fisherman who caught it standing beside.

The following day, the ray's pungent decomposing body was found dumped at North Beach.

A local posted a picture of the ray at North Beach to Facebook. The photo has since been shared dozens of times, and attracted a flurry of comments, mostly from people disgusted in the fisherman's behaviour.

One user commented "other places feed the rays as a tourist attraction ... "

Another pointed out an unwelcome side effect: "Imagine the creatures it's going to attract as it rots!"

That night, someone poured what appears to be a bag of household rubbish over the ray and tried to set it alight.

Buller District Council compliance and emergency team leader Atila de Oliveira said the man who caught the stingray was given 48 hours to remove it from North Beach and dispose of it properly. The man refused, so received a $200 fine.

It was disappointing that the fish was dumped there in the first place, and even more so that the man refused to take responsibility for it, Mr de Oliveira said.

Council was in the process of removing the ray from the beach, which would have to be done using a small digger.

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