Blood Sports

What is a Blood Sport?

To get a true sense of this term as it is used today, think of dog fighting. This is not a hunting issue. It is characterized by experiencing joy and excitement when involved in – or watching others participate in – savagery for its own sake.


Most often, the target of blood sport participants belongs to an endangered or threatened species. However, the vulnerability of the species, though of critical concern, is not the most disturbing factor.


Group I


This group includes direct participants and supportive observers of mindless and destructive brutality who experience joy when causing suffering and often support this loudly, vehemently, and in words that express a complete disdain of any other response, often including aggression toward those who speak against it. It is pointed out that one of the things that serial killers have in common is animal torture and killing. Pointing to this fact is not suggesting that all who enjoy torture are serial killers. What it should say to us is that we are a species that is out of synch with the natural world that we need to survive. Education is the first step toward healing.


Group II

Some would never make a deliberate attempt to cause suffering, but are unaffected by it. This mindset, that enables acceptance of blood sports, often is a result of a callous lack of ability to empathize with others, especially those we don’t count as personally meaningful to us. This lack of empathy displays itself in multiple aspects of our life, affecting us – and those around us – in ways that are often difficult to understand. On a personal level, lack of empathy prevents us from experiencing life to its fullest. It inhibits a complete and satisfying connection with others in our lives that man is biologically wired to need. How this affects those we love, as well as those in our immediate environment, requires careful thought to ascertain.


Group III

This is the largest group – those who are aware of the damage caused to human interaction – to society, in general – as well as the ecological destruction – yet they take no stand against it. They make no effort to learn more and share that knowledge with others. They make no effort to help create a better world for man or the other life on earth.


Which group do we claim?


Governor Larry Hogan: 410-974-3901
100 State CircleAnnapolis, MD 21401
Fred’s Sports:
4781 Crain Hwy, Waldorf, MD 20601
Metro: 301-843-3040
Local: 301-645-5694

Plan to harvest cownose rays could be a recipe for trouble

Reported by Kart Blankenship for Bay Journal on July 1, 2007.

 A cownose ray produces only one pup per year.

Cownose Ray




…other scientists believe the solution being cooked up may be just as bad. If humans develop a taste for cownose rays, they say, it could result in taking too big of a bite out of the ray populations.
Dean Grubbs, program manager of the Shark Ecology Program at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, called efforts to create a fishery “a really bad idea.”



Rays are slow-maturing fish: Females don’t reproduce until they are 7 or 8 years old, and males are typically 6 or 7. Further, females produce just one live pup per year. That, combined with the late maturity rate, is a recipe for overfishing, according to Grubbs and some of his colleagues.
A closely related species that lives off Brazil, Rhinoptera brasiliensis, which was targeted in the 1980s to supply a ray market in Korea was quickly over fished—and completely eliminated in some areas. The IUCN, an international scientific organization, recently warned the population may be “critically endangered.”

The IUCN has expressed similar concerns about the species found here. “If a fishery for the cownose rays is ever established, it could be devastating to the population without proper monitoring,” it said.
Cownose rays range from Brazil to New England, spending winters in warmer areas then migrating north in the summer. But no agency is responsible for managing the fish. As a result, no one knows the size of the population—or the number that enter the Chesapeake each year.

But concerns about cownose rays got a boost earlier this year when a study published in the journal Science blamed the overfishing of sharks along the East Coast for a booming ray population which, in turn, was causing declines in scallops, clams, oysters and other shellfish in the mid-Atlantic. Cownose rays, the authors said, had increased by “an order-of-magnitude” since the 1970s, adding that the coastal population may number more than 40 million. The paper said the “hyperabundant” cownose ray population consumes “a large quantity” of commercial and noncommercial bivalves.

Others question whether the ray population has boomed. Grubbs and others are skeptical of the conclusion that cownose rays increased because sharks declined, saying the link between the species is not clear-cut. They say diet studies have not shown that rays are a significant portion of shark diets. And in the mid-Atlantic, most sharks don’t eat rays.

There are no surveys that effectively target cownose rays in the Bay or along the coast, they said, so evidence of a huge cownose ray increase is largely anecdotal. With its slow reproductive rate, they said a massive ray increase would have been difficult.

“The cownose ray situation is far from clear,” said John Musick, a professor of marine science at VIMS, and an expert on sharks. “I’ve been hearing anecdotal accounts that rays are up in the Bay since 1980. It depends on whose ox is gored.”

Grubbs and Musick said cownose rays could seem to be a bigger problem for oysters and grass beds simply because important foods such as razor clams, soft shell clams, oysters and other species are at, or near, record low abundances. So are underwater grass beds, which rays are blamed for destroying in their search for clams.

“If we hadn’t screwed up everything already, we wouldn’t be talking about this,” Grubbs said. “In a natural situation, they wouldn’t be a heavy enough predator to really worry about.”
… scientists worry that more emphasis has been placed on developing a market than gathering information needed to manage a fishery.

“There was universal agreement that we’re not going to get very far with oyster restoration unless we figure out what to do with cownose rays,” said Jeff Corbin, assistant secretary for natural resources in Virginia. But he agreed that even the most basic information about rays is lacking.

“It is kind of hard to set up a fishery on something when you don’t know how many fish you are going to be able to catch,” Corbin said. “Right now, they seem like a nuisance species, but when you are talking about something that only gives one birth a year, that is a situation where you can over fish that population pretty darn quick.”



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