Dead rays left on the flats at Blackpool Beach last week by the receding tide have raised concerns about their cause of death.

Department of Conservation marine expert Clinton Duffy says the rays all appear to be adult eagle rays (Myliobatis tenuicaudatus).

“These are a very common inshore species, often found in estuaries and shallow, sheltered bays, as well as offshore reefs,” Duffy says.

“They feed primarily on shellfish, bottom-living crustaceans (crabs and shrimps) and bristle worms. Given the location and number apparent in these images, I suspect they are discards from a set net. I couldn’t say if it is likely to have been a recreational or commercial net.” • Erin Johnson

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