Handcuffs, but no arrests as giant stingray causes stir in Daytona Beach

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Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue responded to the scene after a group of juveniles began taunting the fisherman as he dragged the stingray, a legal catch, down the beach.

By Dustin Wyatt | Daytona Beach News Journal

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES — A fisherman caught a 300-pound stingray off the Sunglow Pier, but as he tried to wrangle it in, he also captured the attention of nearby beachgoers who urged him to let it go.

Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue responded to the scene after a group of juveniles began taunting the fisherman as he dragged the stingray, a legal catch, down the beach. There were no arrests or charges filed, but some kids were removed from the area in handcuffs, according to Capt. Mike Berard.

“It started to get ugly,” Berard said, adding that there may have been some misunderstanding about the species of animal. It is unlawful in Florida to harvest, possess, land, purchase, sell, or exchange manta rays, one of more than 40 protected animals in the state. Stingrays aren’t on that list.

“The fisherman had the right to catch it,” Berard said. “The crowd believed it was a manta ray, which is a protected species. A crowd started to build. Our guys went down there to disperse the crowd, some kids got verbal with the fisherman. There was some verbal exchanges and some taunting, but there was no arrest made.”

A video of the scuffle was captured by beachgoer Teresa Taylor Young and posted on the Facebook page “Free Daytona Beach.” She gave The News-Journal permission to use the video, which shows some youth engaging in a game of tug-of-war with the fisherman before Beach Safety officials arrived.

Stingrays, which can weigh more than 790 pounds, can be eaten, but are not a dietary staple and are not considered a high-quality food, according to the New World Encylopedia.

However, the website FloridaSportsman.com, said they taste similar to scallops and aren’t difficult to clean. They also have other uses, as the skin can be used as leather to make shoes, boots, belts, wallets, jackets, and cellphone cases, according to the New World Encyclopedia.

Ancient Greek dentists used the venom from the stingray’s spine as an anesthetic, according to National Geographic.

Berard, who wasn’t at the scene, said the fisherman successfully got the stingray to his automobile. But while he wasn’t sure of its intended use, Berard joked: “Maybe he made some stingray soup.”

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