Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Raybans or ban the rays! Onehunga Bay back in the news.

The stingrays down at Onehunga Bay have created quite stir; not just in the muddy depths of this ‘being redeveloped bay,’ but in the media. When the Council ‘unwittingly’ caused the deaths of at least 4 stingrays, through its inaction, or at the very least slack maintenance of the gates that control the ebb and flow of the water in the bay, there was a huge outcry, getting as far as the news on TV3 and causing quite a ripple on the FB Page (Dog lovers of Onehunga Bay) that seems to have arisen as the ‘bay’ becomes the iconic ‘place to go’ as it once was many years ago. People were genuinely saddened at what they perceived to be the unnecessary deaths of those curious creatures. Watching them as they glided through the shallows, seeking food from the bottom and breaking the surface like a submarine with its periscope. For some the sight may even have been a bit daunting, as they recalled the events surrounding the death of Steve Irwin. I have to say that I heard a few un-PC comments relating to that tragic incident, the parallel being a tad too much for my senses! One could say that the rays have stirred up a great deal more than ‘mud.’ Several weeks on and more progress made re the development of the bay, we can now say that the rays are back in town, well at least one of them is. The new arrival is a big sod----I estimate it to be near a metre on width, with a long barb that I would not want to stand near, of the magnificent beast deicide to take a swing at me! Therein lies the issue that is now casing some debate amongst the people on the FB page and others. Is the ray a potential danger to dogs and people? There is a discussion going on, re that possibility. Perhaps the ray(s) should be relocated back to where they belong, in the harbour. People of this view are undecided as to whether the ray could inflict some damage. I am suggesting that we ask the experts, but one is left with the underlying doubt about whether ‘they’ agree. One would hope that Kelly Tarletons, the Auckland Zoo and others could put their views forward. Then, if there is agreement that the rays pose a threat, we are left with the question of ‘what to do.’ Are we going to see a hunt each time a ray appears, because that is certain---they will be back. The gates may need to be ‘adjusted’ so that larger fish and rays cannot enter the bay. One thing seems sure---once they come in, it seems they don’t or can’t leave! Does that mean an expensive ‘rescue operation?’ The old adage about ‘who is going to pay,’ will no doubt be the factor that ‘Raybans!’ I couldn’t help that---sorry! I do not want to see people taking this issue as one that they solve on their own. There must be discussion. We don’t need vigilantes! Nor do we wish a dog or a person hurt by a ray. The rays delight many of those visiting the bay. There is nothing quite like sitting at the far end of the bay, under that tree, on hot day, with the tide at a low ebb, watching as a ripple approaches you, then the a flipper brakes the surface as the ray changes direction or slides beneath the surface. Sometimes I see a shag surface in its place---they seem to live peacefully with the rays---can we? www.authorneilcoleman.com