Men free beached shark ray

LAUTOKA Club caretaker Fahim Iftikar Mohammed and Bryan Thoman never expected to come face to face with a shark ray early yesterday morning when they saw the creature beached along the city’s foreshore.

The two men found the six-feet creature stranded on the muddy foreshore during low tide.

“We saw it in the shallow water at first and at first we thought it was a shark,” said Mr Thoman.

“It was stuck in a net and trying to get out.

“So I called Fahim and told him that we needed to see what it was but we couldn’t risk it because we thought it was a shark.

“We decided to pull the net in and when it came on to the beach we saw that it was something else.

“We thought it was a whale.”

Mr Thoman said they decided to free the shark ray and release it back into deeper waters.

“I had to put it on a styrofoam and help it swim back beyond the reef.

“If we left it within the reef, it would not be able to swim back into the deep because the reef is closed off.”

Yesterday, staff and members of the Lautoka Club near Namoli Village caught sight of the stranded fish and assisted in its release.

According to Wikipedia, the shark ray is also known as the bowmouth guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma), a species of ray and a member of the family Rhinidae.

The rare species is usually found in tropical coastal waters of the western Indo-Pacific at the depths of 90 metres.

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