|Red List Category & Criteria:
||McCully, S., Serena, F., Morey, G & Ellis, J.R.
||Walls, R.H.L. & Allen, D.J.
||Dulvy, N.K., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Bertozzi, M., Ungaro, N., Tinti, F. & Mancusi, C.
Mediterranean regional assessment: Near Threatened (NT)
The Blonde Skate (Raja brachyura) is a relatively large-bodied skate, endemic to the Northeast Atlantic and western Mediterranean Sea. It occurs on soft substrates to depths of about 300 m in the Mediterranean Sea. It is apparently rare in the region, captured in only 21 of 6,336 tows in Mediterranean-wide trawl surveys conducted between 1994 and 1999 (at depths of 10–800 m). It is not certain whether the Blonde Skate has always been rare in the region; no data are currently available on historical abundance or trends for this region and there is no evidence to suggest it was ever common. Due to a lack of data, the similarity between fishing pressure in both regions and the lacking management in the Mediterranean Sea compared with the Northeast Atlantic can be used to infer that the population is likely doing the same, if not worse, in Mediterranean waters. Therefore, in the absence of data it is inferred from the Northeast Atlantic region that the Blonde Skate has declined similarly by almost 30% in Mediterranean waters as a result of overexploitation. The species is therefore assessed as Near Threatened, close to meeting the criteria for Vulnerable A2bd.
|Range Description:||Within the Mediterranean Sea, the Blonde Skate occurs off Spain, France, western Italy, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco (Bauchot 1987, Bertrand et al. 2000, Baino et al. 2001, Bertozzi et al. 2003). There is also one questionable record from the northern Aegean Sea (Serena 2005).|
Algeria; France (Corsica, France (mainland)); Gibraltar; Italy (Italy (mainland), Sardegna, Sicilia); Malta; Monaco; Morocco; Spain (Baleares, Spain (mainland), Spanish North African Territories); Tunisia
|FAO Marine Fishing Areas:|
Mediterranean and Black Sea
|♦ Lower depth limit (metres):||300|
|♦ Upper depth limit (metres):||10|
|Population:||This species was recorded in a total of 21 of 6,336 tows performed at depths of 10−800 m in the International Bottom Trawl Survey in the Mediterranean (MEDITS) between 1994 and 1999 (Baino et al. 2001). This survey covers the northern Mediterranean coast almost continuously from west Morocco and Spain to the Aegean Sea and Cyprus in the east. The species appears to be relatively rare in Italian waters, with a low frequency of occurrence in Italian scientific trawl surveys "Gruppo Nazionale Risorse Demersali" (GRUND), MEDITS, and other surveys in this area (Follesa et al. 2003, Ragonese et al. 2003, Spedicato et al.. 2003, Serena et al. 2005). The Blonde Skate does not appear to have been captured in either historical or recent comparative trawl surveys of the Adriatic Sea or the Gulf of Lions (Aldebert 1997, Jukic-Peladic et al. 2001). The Blonde Skate also appears to be uncommon off Tunisia (Bradaï 2000).|
The Blonde Skate is relatively rare in the Mediterranean Sea, but it is unclear if this was always the case. Recent regional population trends cannot be estimated for this species given the lack of appropriate data from the region, although a long term decline is suspected (MiPAAF 2014). Instead, it can be inferred from the Atlantic region, where fishing pressure is similar but more regulated, that the species is declining similarly in the Mediterranean Sea due to comparable fishing pressure and habitat use. In the Northeast Atlantic the Blonde Skate is suspected to have declined by almost 30% over the past three generations (30 years), hence the same can be inferred for the Mediterranean regional assessment.
|Current Population Trend:||Decreasing|