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Div. of Fish and Wildlife rescues large manta ray near South Bethany Beach

Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife Natural Resources Police

A large manta ray was found entangled in rope about 2.5 miles off the coast of South Bethany Beach and was rescued by Delaware's Fish and Wildlife Natural Resources Police last weekend.

The manta ray was about 13 feet long and weighed over 2,000 pounds. Sergeant John McDerby with Delaware’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Natural Resources Police said the ray was found by a boater passing through the area.


They saw the ray on the surface of the water and initially thought it was deceased. Once the boater came closer, however, they saw it was still alive, entangled in a swimming area marker with about 50 feet of rope.


It took officers over two hours get the manta ray free, McDerby said.


“It tried to swim away to get away from the boat, just its natural sense of protecting itself," McDerby said. "They (officers) were able to get ahold of one of the ropes the manta ray was tangled in and secure it to the side of the boat so they could help kind of hold the ray within a closer proximity to the boat and to try to work on getting some of the lines off of it."


The ray swam off once officers got enough of the line cut away from it.


Persons who see animals ensnared should report it to the Delaware Fish & Wildlife Dispatch Center. McDerby said it is recommended that members of the general public do not try to untangle wildlife themselves.