(U.S. Atlantic, Wild-caught)
Skates have been severely overfished and most are caught with bottom trawls, which result in high levels of accidental catch and substantial damage to the seafloor.
Skate, Raja Fish, Imitation Scallops
Market names include: raja fish, imitation scallop, briar skate, common skate, summer skate, hedgehog skate, tobacco-box skate, leopard skate, smooth-tailed skate, prickly skate, starry skate, eyed skate, big skate and spotted skate.
Skate is sold both for human consumption and as bait (primarily for lobster pots).
Previously discarded as "trash fish", skate has become an increasingly important fishery as the populations of other bottom-dwelling fish (such as cod and haddock) have declined. As a result, several skate species in the Northeast are overfished or in serious decline. Skates, like their close relatives, the sharks, are highly vulnerable to overfishing since they grow slowly and are long-lived .
In addition, the majority of skates are caught using otter trawl gear, which causes considerable damage to seafloor habitats. Otter trawling is also indiscriminate, catching both intended and unintended species. These unintended species are unmarketable, illegal or undersized fish that are subsequently discarded dead or dying as unwanted catch.