The population of the thorny skate is currently declining, but scientists refused to list this species under the Endangered Species Act. They have considered that the thorny skate’s population is not so declined that it should be protected by this particular act for threatened species. There are some environmental associations which claimed that this fish’s population decline registered in the northwest Atlantic Ocean was thought to be massive.
- Environmentalists argued that they will not list the thorny skate as an endangered species.
- This creature is still found in high number in the waters of the Gulf of Maine.
- Some may say that overfishing may decrease the number of thorny skates.
Thus, it required being protected by the Endangered Species Act. Nevertheless, the National Marine Fisheries Service disagrees. On February 24, the papers published in the Federal Register indicated that the fisheries service established that the thorny skate should not yet be listed as threatened by extinction. What is more, the National Marine Fisheries Service also stated that this species does not appear to become in danger of extinction anytime soon.
The organization supports the idea of petitioners which believe that the number of thorny skates has declined over time. However, recent surveys suggested that they reached less than 5% of the limit they touched back in the 1970s. The new report also indicated that the skates can still be found in a great number.
The thorny skate lives in the area starting from Greenland to South Carolina. Animal Welfare Institute and Defenders of Wildlife announced the federal government that they can list this species on the Endangered Species Act. Thus, this could have led to the implementation of new fishing restrictions and habitat protection.
This species lives in a significant commercial area known as the Gulf of Maine. Unfortunately, the idea of protecting these creatures has faced some resistance coming from several fishing associations. Tara Zuardo, an attorney for Animal Welfare Institute, has stated on February 25 that the organization is disappointed by the implementation of these new rules by the government.
Moreover, the Animal Welfare Institute does not think that the population of thorny skates decreases due to overfishing. Zuardo also claimed that there are still many other factors, like climate change, which continue to impair the habitat of this species. Fishermen are not allowed to harvest this species since 2003 when they have been prohibited to fish for thorny skates. Nevertheless, this species may be caught as bycatch when trying to collect other fish.
Image source: wikipedia