Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Thorny skate - Grand Bank
Fact Sheet Title  Fact Sheet
Stocks management recommendations 2018
Thorny skate - Grand Bank
Fact Sheet Citation  
Skates in Div. 3LNO
Owned byNorthwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) – ownership
ident Blockident Blockdisplay tree map
Species List:
Species Ref: en - Starry ray, fr - Raie radiée, es - Raya radiante, ar - شِفنين بحري شعاعية, zh - 辐鳐
ident Block Thorny skate - Grand Bank
Aq Res
Value: Regional        Management unit: Yes
Reference year: 2017
Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State Trend Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State TrendNone-Low Fishing MortalityNo or low fishing mortalityGreen
Aq Res State TrendSmall Stock SizeLow abundance
Habitat Bio
Climatic Zone: Temperate.   Bottom Type: Unspecified.   Depth Zone: Slope - Deepslope (500 m - 1000 m).   Horizontal Dist: Neritic.   Vertical Dist: Demersal/Benthic.  

Geo Dist
Geo Dist: Straddling between High Seas and EEZ

Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: Regional

Water Area Overview

Thorny skate is caught in directed gillnet, trawl and long-line fisheries. In directed thorny skate fisheries, cod, monkfish, American plaice and other species are landed as bycatch. In turn, thorny skate are also caught as bycatch in gillnet, trawl and long-line fisheries directing for other species. The fishery in NAFO Divs. 3LNO is regulated by quota.

Recent catch estimates and TACs for Div. 3LNO are:
  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Div. 3LNO:      
TAC 13.5 12 12 8.5 7 7 7 7 7 7
STATLANT 21 5.7 5.4 5.5 4.3 4.4 4.5 3.3 3.5 4.2  
STACFIS 5.6 3.1 5.4 4.3 4.4 4.5 3.4 3.5 4.5  

Effects of the fishery on the ecosystem

No specific information is available. General impacts of fishing gears on the ecosystem should be considered.
Bio Assess
Ref Point

Blim defined from survey indices as Bloss; NAFO 2015
Assess Models
Analytical assessment

Based upon a qualitative evaluation of stock biomass trends and recruitment indices, the assessment is considered data limited and as such associated with a relatively high uncertainty. Input data are research survey indices and fishery data. The next full assessment of this stock is planned for 2020.



Human impact

Mainly fishery related mortality has been documented. Mortality from other human sources (e.g. pollution, shipping, oil-industry) are undocumented.

Biological and environmental interactions

Thorny skate are found over a broad range of depths (down to 840 m) and bottom temperatures (-1.7 - 11.5ºC). Thorny skate feed on a wide variety of prey species, mostly on crustaceans and fish. Recent studies have found that polychaete worms and shrimp dominate the diet of thorny skates in Div. 3LNO, while hyperiids, snow crabs, sand lance, and euphausiids are also important prey items.

The Grand Bank (3LNO) EPU is currently experiencing low productivity conditions and biomass has declined across multiple trophic levels and stocks since 2014.
Sci Advice

Special Comments

The life history characteristics of thorny skate result in low rates of population growth and are thought to lead to low resilience to fishing mortality.
Management unit: Yes


Recommendation for 2019 and 2020

No explicit management plan or management objectives defined by Fisheries Commission. General Convention objectives (GC Doc. 08/3) are applied. Advice is based on survey indices and catch trends in relation to estimates of recruitment.

Stock definition for management purposes

The management unit is confined to NAFO Div. 3LNO, which is a portion of the stock that is distributed in NAFO Div. 3LNO and Subdivision 3Ps.
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