BALTIMORE (AP) — Research into cownose rays has been launched after videos captured the ancient species being killed during fishing tournaments.

The Capital reports state officials and biologists gathered Thursday to discuss the relatively unknown species.

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Deputy director with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Lynn Fegley says they are in the information-gathering phase.

The species attracted little interest until June, when wildlife advocates filmed the fishing tournament in St. Mary’s County. The rays were shot with arrows and clubbed to death.

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After the filming, advocates called on Gov. Larry Hogan to stop the tournaments. A spokeswoman for Hogan’s office didn’t respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.

The fishing of rays remains unregulated by state and federal authorities.

Officials say any action will wait until more is known about the rays.

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