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Ray, shagreen

Leucoraja fullonica

Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - All applicable methods
Capture area - North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area - Celtic Sea and West of Scotland
Stock detail - VI, VIIa-c,e-j
Accreditation -
Fish type - White flat fish

Sustainability rating Click for explaination of rating

This fish, caught by the methods and in the area listed above, is the least sustainable fish to eat and should be avoided. Click on the rating icon above to read more and on the alternatives tab below to find sustainable fish to eat.

Sustainability overview

The stock status of shagreen rays is largely uncertain both around the UK and in the Bay of Biscay and Iberian waters. Avoid eating. Skates and rays are inherently vulnerable to overfishing due to slow growth rates, late maturation and low fecundity. In addition, little is known about the stock status of many individual species because historically they have been landed under the generic skates and rays category. Only fisheries for the smaller, faster growing species such as spotted and cuckoo fished in the North Sea where abundance is estimated to be increasing can be considered as potentially sustainable at present. Avoid eating these species below the size at which they mature: spotted ray males mature at a length of about 54cm and females at about 57cm (both between 3 to 8 years old); cuckoo ray males and females mature at between 54 to 59cm in length when approximately 4 years old.


Shagreen rays belong to the Rajidae family which includes skates and rays. The shagreen ray is a medium sized species growing to a maximum length of 120cm. Males and females mature from 56 to 85cm in length. Age at maturity and maximum age is unknown.

Stock information

Stock area
Celtic Sea and West of Scotland

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Stock information
The stock status of shagreen ray in this area is unknown because of the lack of species specific landing data and its low appearance in scientific surveys. Reference points are not defined and no analytical assessment carried out. ICES recommends a reduction in catches of at least 20% in 2013. The species would also benefit from a reduction in overall demersal fishing effort and additional measures to regulate exploitation of the stock such as seasonal and/or area closures.


There is no specific management plan for demersal elasmobranchs. Given the regional differences in skate assemblages and fisheries, ICES recommends that management measures for elasmobranchs be devloped on a case-by-case basis. Currently these species are managed under a common Total Allowable Catch (TAC). There are also prohibitions on fishing for, retaining and landing some species, including the most severely depleted species taken as bycatch in mixed demersal fisheries. ICES does not advise that general or species specific TACs be established at present because they are not the most effective means to regulate these bycatch species. TACs alone may not adequately protect these species as there are differences amongst species in their vulnerabilities to exploitation and a restrictive TAC may lead to discarding. Instead seasonal and/or area closures, effort restrictions and measures to protect spawning grounds for example are recommended.

Capture information

Shagreen ray is caught in low numbers in mixed fisheries on the continental slope. Skates and rays form an important component of mixed demersal fisheries, taken as bycatch in beam and otter trawls, in seine fisheries and also in targeted fisheries using lines and set nets. This species is routinely landed under a general category of 'skate and rays'. However, recently the Marine Fisheries Agency (MFA) has issued a new instruction and guidance for fishermen and merchants to record all individual species of skates and rays around England and Wales, to help build an accurate picture of stocks of skates and rays here. Also targeted by sea anglers. No Minimum Landing Size (MLS) is specified for skates and rays in EU waters outside 6 miles. MLS specified in some coastal waters of England and Wales, e.g. Kent and Essex Sea Fisheries District, 40cm (wing to wing), South Wales 45cm, Cumbria SFC 45cm. Under current EU legislation, where a directed fishery for skates takes place, a mesh size in the cod-end of no less than 28cm is required and not less than 22cm in the rest of the trawl. In 2007, Fisheries Science Partnership projects (fishermen and scientists working together) were conducted to investigate discard survival rates in trawl fisheries, to find out the survival rate for skates and rays that would be discarded with the introduction of a maximum landing length. The projects also aimed to develop species identification onboard and contribute to improved data collection. The Skate and Ray Producers Association has recently been working to improve the lack of species specific data by reporting their catches by species, into a central database. This follows previous collaborative work with the Shark Trust and the Seafish Industry Authority, to produce an identification guide to help distinguish different species. There is a potential for damage to the seabed by trawling. Trawling is also associated with discarding of unwanted fish, i.e. undersized and/or non-quota and/or over-quota species.

Read more about capture methods


Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below . Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Dab Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Halibut, Atlantic Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Halibut, Pacific

Sole, Dover sole, Common sole Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Turbot Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

ICES 2012 Book 5

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