The thorny skate's population could have declined, but not by sufficient to justify listing it under the Endangered Species Act, the federal government has ruled.
Environmental groups had argued that the bottom-dwelling fish's population loss in the northwest Atlantic Ocean was considerable sufficient to afford it protections set aside for endangered animals. But the National Marine Fisheries Service disagrees.
Documents published in the Federal Register on Friday state that the fisheries service has concluded the thorny skate is "not currently in danger of extinction" in all or a important piece of its variety. The service mentioned the fish is also not probably to become in danger of extinction soon.
The agency agreed with the petitioners that surveys of the skate have declined more than time. Current catch surveys show much less than 5 % of the peak they reached in the 1970s, the report stated.
Having said that, the skates "remain numerous all through the higher portion of their range, numbering in the hundreds of millions," the report stated.
The thorny skate ranges from Greenland to South Carolina. Animal Welfare Institute and Defenders of Wildlife called on the federal government to give the fish Endangered Species Act listing, which could've led to habitat protection or new fishing restrictions.
The skates reside in the Gulf of Maine, a key industrial fishing location, and the call to safeguard them generated some resistance from fishing groups.
Tara Zuardo, an attorney for Animal Welfare Institute, mentioned Saturday that the group is disappointed by the government's ruling, and disagrees that the skate is not being subjected to overfishing.
"Climate transform and other things continue to effect this species," Zuardo stated.
Fishermen have been prohibited from harvesting the thorny skate commercially considering the fact that 2003. The fish are occasionally taken as bycatch in other fisheries, such as by vessels that seek cod and some that seek other skates.
Skates have commercial worth as bait as well as meals, with the meat regularly appearing as "skate wing" on menus. It tends to be a small significantly less high priced to customers than other kinds of fish.
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