Bathyraja abyssicola


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Bathyraja abyssicola
Species Authority: (Gilbert, 1896)
Common Name/s:
English Deepsea Skate
Raja abyssicola Gilbert, 1896

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2005-10-01
Assessor/s: Cook, S. & Zorzi, G.
Reviewer/s: Musick, J.A. & Fowler, S.L. (Shark Red List Authority)
This assessment is based on the information published in the 2005 shark status survey (Fowler et al. 2005).

Information is lacking on the range, population size and general and reproductive biology of this (and indeed other) rarely recorded deep-sea species, hence it is assessed as Data Deficient. However, as fisheries for other traditional species move deeper, the Deepsea Skate (Bathyraja abyssicola) will become subject to increased incidental capture. More research is required on this and other poorly known deep-sea species to fully determine their threatened status.
2000 Data Deficient
1996 Data Deficient

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Its range is continuous in the northern Pacific from Bishop Rock, West Cortes Basin, California through the Bering Sea and Sea of Okhotsk to Choshi on the Pacific central coast of Honshu, Japan (Dolganov 1983; Nakaya 1983; Ishihara and Ishiyama 1985, 1986; Zorzi and Anderson 1988, 1990; Zorzi and Martin, unpubl. data). Until the past few years there were fewer than a dozen known specimens of this skate in collections, attesting to the infrequency with which it was taken in deep-set research collecting gear.
Japan; Russian Federation; United States (California, Oregon, Washington)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – northeast; Pacific – northwest
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: A rare, deepsea skate.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The rare deepsea skate was and remains the deepest occurring known rajid species, being recorded from depths of 396?2,904 m (Grinols 1965; Miller and Lea 1972; Eschmeyer et al. 1983; Zorzi and Anderson 1988, 1990). Due to the depths it inhabits and paucity of collection of this species little is known about its biology. Like all skates it is oviparous, but the number of eggs produced per reproductive cycle and the length of embryonic development are unknown. Size at maturity is estimated by Zorzi and Anderson (1988) as 1.1 m for males, although no specimens in the 0.75?1.0 m range occurred in the sample they examined so no closer estimate of minimum mature size could be made. Information on stomach contents and food habits of B. abyssicola are generally lacking. Some of the 145 specimens observed by Cook (1979) from 1,000?1,200 m depth curves of the continental slope south-west of the Pribilofs, central Bering Sea, were examined and found to hold remains of molluscs (sea snails) and lesser amounts of bony fishes (grenadiers, snailfishes, eelpouts and flatnoses (codlings)).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Due to the rarity of this species and the depths at which it occurs, it is only taken in extreme deep-set gear (>400 m depth). It has been taken in bottom (otter) trawls. It is not common enough to be sought commercially, but it is apparently regularly taken by deep commercial trawling gear set for flatfishes in the Bering Sea. As commercial fisheries operations in other portions of its range move to trawl deeper waters (i.e., Oregon, where trawling for Thornyheads (Sebastolobus spp.) is currently being conducted down to the 1,300 m isobath (J. Griffith pers. comm.)), we can expect to see many more of this species taken incidentally. Due to the number of this species observed by Cook (1979) in Japanese deep trawls in the Bering Sea, it may be more commonly harvested than once believed. Due to its apparent rarity, it may be heavily impacted by increasing bathybenthic commercial fishery efforts. One record exists of this species being taken in a commercial blackcod (sablefish) trap (Zorzi pers. comm.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None in place for this species. More research is required on this and other poorly known deep-sea species to fully determine their threatened status (Raschi et al. 1994).
Citation: Cook, S. & Zorzi, G. 2009. Bathyraja abyssicola. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 19 April 2014.
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