A stingray egg recovered during a sharks and rays conservation project which began in Majorca in June has hatched on September 19, according to the Cayume Association.
The female stingray (Raja clavata) was 11 centimetres long and weighed just 8 grams when she was born.
Dozens of eggs were gathered this summer within the framework of the 'Eggcase 2020' Project to recover shark and ray eggs that are caught accidentally.
Cayume Association President Guillem Félix says sharks and rays are endangered species, so their conservation is extremely important.
“They are at the top of the trophic chain and as such are very important bioindicators of the state of the sea,” he says. “They are also predators so they control other species to make sure they don’t increase too much in order to maintain a balance.
The Cayume Association is working with the Fishermen’s Association of Puerto Andratx and is in charge of collecting the eggs that collaborating vessels catch accidentally as well as any eggs that are found inside females which are caught, before they’re taken to the fish market.
Dozens of eggs were collected during the summer and kept in incubators at the Marine Research & Aquaculture Laboratory, or LIMIA, under the eagle eye of Cayume Technicians.
The new-born stingray has now been transferred to a rearing facility and over the coming weeks staff will feed her and control her growth until she’s big enough to be released at sea. More eggs are expected to hatch over the coming weeks.
Veterinary Nurse, Guillem Félix says there are between 15 and 20 eggs in embryonic development, but some of them are difficult to identify by species until they hatch because the eggs are very similar to each other, although they have identified several Santiago ray (Leucoraja Naevus).
The ’EggCase 2020’ Project is financed by the Marilles Foundation and is the first by the Cayume Association, a non-profit organisation for the study and conservation of marine biodiversity, which was formed in Majorca by a multidisciplinary group.
The aim of the project is the protection and recovery of a group of highly threatened species such as rays and sharks from the Balearic coast and around the world.
"More than 50% of elasmobranch species in the Mediterranean Sea are classified as critically endangered or vulnerable,” says Felíx, “and there are species in danger in seas all over the world.