Cownose rays are a typical resident of the Chesapeake Bay and it's rivers, but more of these shark relatives are appearing in our coastal waters.
Don't just kill them, a Cownose ray is good eating!
Although they are graceful swimmers in our shallow waters, these rays do pose two problems:
- A wader can accidentally corner or step on the creature and get a nasty wound from its stinger.
- Watermen and seafood lovers have another reason to despise rays, they gorge themselves on oysters posing yet another threat on a favorite Virginia delicacy.
But did you know that Cownose rays are edible?
The urban legend around here is that some less reputable restaurants served plugs of ray meat as bay scallops. The truth is the "wings" can be skinned, cut from the cartilage, and prepared in a variety of ways.
The next time you catch one of these strange creatures, please don't just curse and kill them. Break out your filet knife, seafood breader, and hot oil as for other fish. You may also try one of these recipes for a change of pace:
- Chesapeake Ray Fajitas
- Ray Kabobs
- Ray Creole
Cownose ray is one of several fish that can be caught at York River State Park.
Directions to York River State Park: From I-64, take the Croaker Exit 231B. Go north on Route 607 (Croaker Rd.) for one mile, then right on Route 606 (Riverview Rd.) about one and a half miles to the park entrance. Take a left turn into the park.