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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
A black ray and a smooth ray side by side.
​The black (left) and smooth stingray (right) are both protected in the South Coast and West Coast bioregions, so make sure you can identify both species. Illustration © R. Swainston/
Tuesday 18 September 2018

Know the rules for rays

While many fishers don’t deliberately target rays, they can be exciting to catch using their large flat bodies to exert considerable power.

Rays are closely related to sharks and there are some specific fishing rules that apply to them, including protected status for some species of rays and a specific area where they are protected.

There are two recreationally protected ray species in the West Coast  and South Coast Bioregions – black stingrays and smooth stingrays.

These rays are often seen in shallow waters around fish cleaning stations and boat ramps where they commonly scavenge for discarded fish parts. If caught, these ray species must be released immediately without being harmed.

Many rays are similar in appearance so it’s important that you can quickly identify them. You also need to be aware that all rays and skates in the waters of Hamelin Bay are protected.

Black stingrays are grey-brown to black in colour with a white underside and a ‘wingspan’ of around two metres when fully grown. They feature thorn-like denticles along their midline and a tail which is much longer than their bodies.

Smooth stingrays look similar and are black to brown in colour, but have small white spots and a smooth overall texture. Both stingray species have a long, thin tail with one or two poisonous barbs.

There is no minimum size for rays and they can be taken in a maximum mixed daily bag limit of three, which can also include other pelagic fish species.

Rays have a habit of swallowing their food quickly and deep down, which can make removing a hook without harming the fish challenging. In these cases, cut off the line as close as possible to the hook without injuring the animal.

For more information see our recreational fishing rules.

You can also download our Recreational fishing guide in booklet size or the A4 print-friendly version.

Last modified: 18/09/2018 10:56 AM

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