Product #: 11220W
Scientific Name: Leucoraja ocellata
Country of Origin: US
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Winter skate is the only species harvested for human consumption. Other skates are used as bait. The skate is a member of the ray family but is distinguished from most other members of that family in that they lack a tail barb or stinger. Skates are a kite shaped fish that have a flat body and two wings. The wings are the only part of the fish that is eaten. Each wing produces two filets, one from the top and one from the bottom. The meat has a very striated texture and cooks up off-white and very delicate. The mild and slightly sweet flavor is similar to scallop, but the texture is very different.
Winter skate are found in the northwestern Atlantic from Newfoundland to North Carolina.
The New England winter skate fishery is at sustainable levels according to a recent stock assessment. Because there are still incomplete data, scientists and managers have identified a number of research needs for the species and are compiling information being collected from trawl surveys and daily fishing logs submitted by permitted fishermen. Fishery management measures include seasonal closures, a total allowable catch, possession limits, landing limits, and accountability measures. Skates are caught incidentally in fisheries targeting other species (scallop, flounder, monkfish and the multispecies fisheries) with both trawl and gillnets. Gillnets have minimal impacts on seafloor habitat while trawls can have more substantial impacts on some types of habitat. Both types of fishing gear have high incidences of bycatch, but these interactions are reduced by gear modifications and restrictions on fishing effort (area and seasonal closures).
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