The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network

            A charity registered in Scotland - RegNo:: SC039015


Skates and Rays in real danger

Warning signs regarding the state of the Scottish stocks of skates and rays have been there for many years but Scottish fisheries managers have systematically chosen to ignore them.

The following graph illustrates the extent to which they are in free-fall.

Landings are at a 100 year all time low.

Survey work undertaken by the FRS confirms it is lack of stocks rather than lack of effort; although their number of surveys are basically constant, the number of fish per tow has declined drastically.


The Scottish Government should implement the following measures before the thornback and other species of rays join the elasmobranchs already on the IUCN critically endangered list.

  1. A zero quota for vulnerable species per ICES’ recommendations.
  2. Closed seasons to protect nursery areas.
  3. Species-specific landings data enabling detailed assessments of population trends as recommended by the ICES elasmobranchs working Group.
  4. All fish to be landed whole to aid identification.
  5. Minimum landing size: enforcement of proposed 40 cm minimum disc width.
  6. Reduction of bycatch.
  7. Adoption of a precautionary approach until species-specific management is enforced.

SSACN would like to know if the Government is going to do anything or will they allow the west coast skate and ray stocks to be extirpated ?

More info on this SSACN paper.

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