Cownose Ray Biological Assessment

Robert Fisher and cownose rays

Ever since cownose rays were seen gobbling up many of the oysters in a newly restored oyster bed, commercial and environmental growers have been looking for a way to protect their investment from the predator, which is native to Chesapeake Bay. Proposed management strategies have covered everything from putting up underwater fences around shellfish beds to opening a commercial cownose ray fishery.

Robert Fisher, Virginia Sea Grant Fisheries Specialist at VIMS, has been investigating many of the management options. His basic biological research provides data that will help marine resource managers understand the ray and could help determine special considerations managers should take if a fishery is initiated. Fisher has also collaborated with others to find non-lethal deterrents to keep rays out of shellfish beds. 

Papers & Reports

Fisher, Robert. 2010. “Life History, Trophic Ecology, and Prey Handling by Cownose Ray, Rhinoptera bonasus, from Chesapeake Bay.”  Report to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Fisher, Robert (ed.) 2009. “Regional Workshop on Cownose Ray Issues: Identifying Research and Extension Needs, Yorktown, VA, June 1-2, 2006

Robert A. Fisher, Garrett C. Call and R. Dean Grubbs. 2011. “Cownose ray (Rhioptera bonasus) predation relative to bivalve ontogeny.” Journal of Shellfish Research, 30 (1) 187-196.

Fisher, R.A. and E.M. Stroud. 2006. “An Evaluation of the Behavioral Responses of Rhinoptera bonasus to Permanent Magnets and Electropositive Alloys.”