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Discover Rays

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Connect With Our Cceans Like Never Before

Roll up your sleeves and come have a unique, hands-on encounter at the Discover Rays touch pool at the Vancouver Aquarium. Watch as these gentle fishes “fly” beneath the water’s surface, delighting and surprising guests with their curiosity.

There are two species in this exhibit: 

  • cownose ray (Rhinoptera bonasus)
  • southern stingray (Dasyatis americana)

Go behind the scenes, meet an Aquarium biologist, and participate in a stingray feeding session during a Stingray Encounter. 

What Are Rays?

Well… imagine a steamrolled shark. Rays or batoids are basically flat sharks that number over 630 species. They include skates, stingrays, sawfishes and electric rays.

Like sharks, they have skeletons made of cartilage, pores that sense electricity, as well as several pairs of gill slits.

Rays Are Disappearing 

They need us to pay attention.

Like sharks, the main threat to rays is overfishing. People eat their fins or “wings” for meat, their liver for oil, and their gills (especially of manta rays) for soup.

People are catching ray species that scientists don’t even know exist. Some, like the manta rays, are targeted for their gills. Others, like cownose rays, are killed because of misconceptions, and others still are caught accidentally (as bycatch) in other fisheries. They all add up to overfishing.

Rays Around The
World Need Our Help

And you took the first step today – knowing that they need us to pay attention is crucial, but you can easily do more:

  • Choose to eat sustainable seafood. It saves rays’ lives. Look for the Ocean Wise symbol in restaurants and seafood markets across Canada.
  • Make these fishes more valuable alive than dead. Go with reputable tour operators and dive or snorkel with rays, especially manta rays. 
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Did You Know?

Did You Know?

97 percent of all animals on Earth are invertebrates. 
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