Also known as spiny dogfish, rock salmon or flake the spurdog is a small grey shark with spines at the base of each dorsal fin. They grow to a maximum size of 124 cm.
Spurdog is a long-lived, slow-growing, and late-maturing species and therefore particularly vulnerable to fishing mortality. The North East Atlantic stock is now considered to be depleted. Targeted fisheries for the species have effectively been outlawed as there is Zero TAC for the species in 2015 and 2016. Bycatch in non-target fisheries is still thought to be a problem as it is difficult to predict where groups of spurdogs will occur. Since 2016 cornish vessels have been working on a project with CEFAS to provide real time data on spurdog catches to enable other fishers to avoid accendentally catching this species. The species is assessed as Critically Endangered in the North East Atlantic by IUCN and has been recently added to the OSPAR list of threatened and/or declining species and habitats.
Avoid eating Spurdog, often marketed as rock salmon, or flake, regardles of the method of capture.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.
Spurdogs are a highly migratory species that is capable of moving great distances in very little time. They grow slowly and have a low rate of reproduction meaning that this species is very vulnerable to fishing. Biological vulnerability rating 69%, Cheung et al 2005. Spurdog (spiny dogfish, dogfish, rock salmon or flake) are sharks. In the North Atlantic female dogfish grow to a maximum total length of 110-124cm, males 83-100cm. In the Northwest Atlantic spurdog mature at around 60cms total length and at an age of 6 years for males and at around 75cms, at an age of 12 years for females. In the Northeast Atlantic females are reported to mature slightly larger and older at 83cm total length and 15 years. Gestation or pregnancy lasts between 18 and 22 months, one of the longest recorded for any vertebrate, and they give birth to live young. The fecundity of spurdog increases with length, and females of 100-120cm produce a higher number of pups (10-21) than those females below this length. Spurdog tend to aggregate in groups of one sex and size.
It is currently illegal to land spurdogs commercially, a Zero Total Allowable Catch has been set in European Waters since 2010. As spurdogs are patchy in their distribution when fishermen accidentally catch spurdogs they will usually catch large numbers. The Spurdog by-catch avoidance project (CEFAS, Sharktrust and Cornish Fish Producers Organisation) has given permission to 6 participating vessels to land spurdogs (2 toones per boat per month), which have died in fishing gear, as long as accurate catch and discard records are kept. Real time infomation is then collated and used to inform other fishers of areas where there is more of a chance of accidentally catching spurdogs.
Spurdogs have been targeted in the past using nets and longlines but are now not targeted but are occasionally caught accidentally in gill nets, trawls and with longlines. Any caught currently have to be discarded as they are not allowed to be landed.
This simple dish is delicous and easy to prepair. And is best using fresh cornish squid!