Officials in northern Mexico said Tuesday they have filed complaints against a local employee who ordered fishermen to rip the stingers off live rays to protect tourists during Easter week.
The governor of the northern state of Sonora, Alfonso Durazo, called it an act of “caveman logic to protect tourists” in the town of Huatabampo.
“Who could think of such a thing? What world do they live in?” Durazo said, adding he had reported the offense to the Attorney General for Environmental Protection.
People were shocked when videos of the mutilations began to circulate this week. Some of the fishermen were shown ripping out the spiny stinger with gloved hands, and tossing the sting rays back into the Pacific.
While some claimed the rays could survive and re-grow their stingers, it was unclear if that was true, or how many would survive the brutal treatment. The creatures involved were a smaller species related to the larger, better-known manta rays. It was unclear exactly which species was involved.
The Pacific coast city of Huatabampo had apparently long carried out the practice, but will no longer do so, the mayor said last week.
Mayor Juan Jesus Flores said he had ordered the firing of Elizabeth Guerrero Moreno, who served as the city’s environmental director, for ordering the mass mutilation. The city apparently paid fishermen for removing the stingers.
“In previous administrations this was a custom that was followed, and improperly, it has been done for many years,” Flores said.