Rare, unique catch

26 October 2021 | Fishing

Ilka Schroeder recently caught a marbled electric ray at Mile 8.

Local fishing guru Graham “Grumpy” Gramowsky said this is truly an uncommon catch in Namibian waters.

“It’s the first time in my life to witness this extraordinary and very uncommon catch having been made in our waters.”

The marbled electric ray (Torpedo marmorata) is a species of electric ray in the family Torpedinidae commonly found in the coastal waters of the eastern Atlantic Ocean from the North Sea to South Africa.

This benthic fish inhabits rocky reefs, seagrass beds, and sandy and muddy flats in shallow to moderately deep waters.

The slow-moving predator feeds almost exclusively on small bony fish, which it ambushes from the bottom and subdues with strong electric bursts.

It defends itself by turning towards the threat, swimming in a loop, or curling up with its underside facing outward, while emitting electric shocks to drive off the prospective predator. Its paired electric organs are capable of producing 70-80 volts of electricity.

The electric shock delivered by a marbled electric ray can be severe but is not directly life-threatening. Its electrogenic properties have been known since antiquity, when live rays were used to treat conditions such as chronic headaches.