A large skate with spotted pattern and tiny prickly spines all over its upper surface. Colour is variable but generally a sandy background with Spots reaching to the edges of the wings. Commonly marketed as skate wings.
Like all rays the blonde ray is a slow growing species that produces a small number of eggs each year, is vulnerable to over fishing and is easily by-caught in nets and trawls.
Cornish boats landing to Cornish ports
This species is caught using many methods but all are scored the same by Cornwall Good Seafood Guide.Learn more
Cornwall Good Seafood Guide rates fish on sustainability using a scale of 1 to 5.
1, 2 and 3 are recommended, Fish to avoid are rated 5.
We use the system devised by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) so our scores are comparable with the scores produced by MCS for the UK and fisheries from all around the world. For more information on scoring click here.
The blonde ray, Raja brachyura is a large-bodied skate species growing to a maximum size of 110cm in length. It is the most vulnerable of the main commercial skate species in this area according to a Productivity–Susceptibility Analysis (McCully et al., 2013). Unlike smaller skates blonde rays feed on cuttlefish sandeel and small fish. They are not sexually mature until they reach a length of 85- 90cm and are 8-10 years old. Once mature females will lay between 40 and 140 eggs per year between February and August. Like all sharks and rays the slow growth rate and slow reproduction make this species particularly vulnerable to fishing as it takes a very long time for populations to re-build after exploitation. Biological vulnerability score 59/100 (Cheung et al 2005).
This species has a patchy distribution and our knowledge of its stocks are not good enough to accurately predict the state of the population. Until recently identification to species level was not carried out when recording landings of skate species. ICES say that this species is most abundant in the Bristol Channel and off the west coast of Ireland. Stock levels are unknown and fishing effort is considered to be above recommended levels. ICES scientists recommend the overall catch is reduced by 20% in the Celtic sea and Western channel.
This simple dish is delicous and easy to prepair. And is best using fresh cornish squid!