Skate and Ray Wings

Skate and ray wings are commonly sold in supermarkets and fishmongers.

Larger-bodied skate (such as Common Skate, Long-nosed Skate, White Skate and Black Skate) are vulnerable to trawling activity and have historically been fished in large numbers. However these species are now prohibited from landing by vessels in EU waters and so although they shouldn’t make it onto the market, must be completely avoided by consumers.

The smaller-bodied skate species are commonly referred to in the UK as rays (such as Cuckoo Rays, Thornback Rays and Spotted Rays) and are more resilient to fisheries pressure as they mature and reproduce relatively earlier than the larger-bodied species.

As indicated, the large skate species should be completely avoided, but to make matters more confusing, species are all generally sold under one name – so either ‘skate’ or ‘ray’. Find out more by visiting our skates and rays page.

The Shark Trust has worked closely with the fishing industry in the UK to ensure those species offered for sale are caught from managed fisheries.

We urge retailers to clearly label their products to enable customers to make an informed choice, but also appreciate that the status of a species in one sea area is not indicative of the status of the whole population. The Responsible Sourcing Guide for Skates & Rays, created by Seafish, is a useful resource.

If consumers wish to be fully informed they should request information on both species and provenance.

Related Links:

Skate and Ray ID Guides and Factsheets

➤ Download Fisheries Advisory for Skate and Ray Reporting (pdf)