Blue Ocean Institute

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Species has a combination of problems such as overfishing, high bycatch, and poor management.
Skate These fish contain levels of mercury or PCBs that may pose a health risk to adults and children.

The seven species of skate – Winter, Barndoor, Thorny, Little, Rosette, Clearnose, and Smooth Skate – are managed both individually and collectively in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean. Skates are typically long-lived, mature slowly, and have low fecundity (fertility), making them vulnerable to fishing pressure.

Skates are most commonly caught in bottom otter trawls, which damage the seafloor. Larger skate species such as Winter and Thorny Skates are sold as “wings” for human consumption, while smaller species like Little Skate are used as fishing bait.

The populations of Barndoor, Little, Clearnose, and Rosette Skates in the northwestern Atlantic are currently considered healthy, while Winter and Smooth skates are considered “overfished” and Thorny Skates are overfished (at low levels) with overfishing still occurring.

Full species report here.

This species may have moderately high levels of mercury that could pose a health risk to adults and children. More info here about mercury in skate. Check out our mercury in seafood section.