I wrote an extended version of the below letter to Zigzag, a South African surfing magazine, a while back. The editor felt the message needed to get published so it appears in its "Letters to the Editor" section. It returned a surprising response so I thought I would share this story here. My idea behind writing this is that perhaps the key to solving issues is informing people of why fishing is wrong, why the sea isn't like it was previously, why fewer and fewer fish are being caught and then offering an informed solution. Educate and enable if you will.
A recent morning surf took an unexpected turn when a fisherman hooked a small round ribbontail ray, bringing it onto the rocks amidst curious onlookers. As I paddled in over the rocks to see what was caught I saw that instead of removing the hook and releasing the ray as I expected him to do, said fisherman stabbed his knife into the gills of the ray to kill the animal. He then removed the hook. Blood flowed heavily from its gills with each dying movement.