|Scientific Name:||Malacoraja spinacidermis|
|Species Authority:||(Barnard, 1923)|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Least Concern ver 3.1|
|Assessor/s:||Smale, M.J. & Kulka, D.W.|
|Reviewer/s:||Cavanagh, R.D. & Valenti, S.V. (Shark Red List Authority)|
Apparently uncommon or rarely caught, this large deepwater species is widely distributed and may be more common in deeper waters that are not presently exploited by commercial trawlers. There are 147 records of sets containing soft skate off Canada from over 40,000 sets, nearly all at depths of over 800 m. The species is taken occasionally as bycatch in deep fisheries off Canada but is currently regarded as Least Concern because it is distributed primarily out of the range of current fishing efforts. However, expansion of trawling operations to deeper waters may increase the threat to this species and the situation should be monitored closely. Catch data and information on the life-history characteristics of this little-known species should be collected as a priority.
|Range Description:||A rare deepwater skate that has an amphitemperate distribution on the North Atlantic slope from the Georges Bank, Grand Banks, Labrador Shelf to the Iceland-Faroes Ridge and off north-central Namibia and Cape Town, South Africa. Occurs in southern African waters off Port Nolloth, south-west of Lambert's Bay, north-west of Cape Town, and south-west of Cape Point at 800 m and deeper (Compagno et al. 1991).|
Native:Canada; Faroe Islands; Iceland; Namibia; South Africa
|FAO Marine Fishing Areas:||
Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – southeast
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||A widely distributed species, but apparently not common.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||
M. spinacidermis is a poorly known species found on the continental slope at depths of over 800 m to 1,550 m. Twenty two records off Canada indicated a depth range of 450 to 1,550 m (max depth fished) and a narrow range of temperatures, 3 to 4.5°C (D. Kulka pers. obs). Occurs at 100 to 1,350 m (max depth fished) off north-central Namibia and Cape Town, South Africa (Compagno et al. 1991).
Size at maturity for males is currently unknown, although a fully mature female found off the coast of Canada measured 52 cm total length (TL) (D. Kulka pers. obs.). M. spinacidermis attains a maximum size of 64 cm TL, with a disk width (DW) of 45 cm (Hulley 1986). Size at birth is unknown, although the smallest known specimen, recorded off the coast of Canada, measured 10 cm TL (D. Kulka pers. obs).
Most records occur at >800 m suggesting that this species occurs primarily deeper than is normally surveyed or fished. Potential threat if there is deeper water trawling in the future, but it is not considered threatened by current activity.
In the northwest Atlantic, deepest fishing sets occur at 1,500 m off Newfoundland (most deep fishing in the range of 700 to 1,200 m), and 400 m off Nova Scotia (D. Kulka pers. obs). Deepwater fishing effort has diminished considerably compared to the 1960s-1980s in the Northwest Atlantic, and presently about 10 to 20% of the Northwest Atlantic slope is fished annually (D. Kulka pers. obs). Estimates of bycatches off Canada (Observer Program) indicate small numbers of removals (D. Kulka pers. obs).
|Conservation Actions:||No conservation measures are underway at present. It is recommended that there is further investigation of the life history characteristics of M. spinacidermis (some work on this species off Canada has commenced) and further catch composition data is required for the species. Estimates of bycatches off Canada (Observer Program) indicate small numbers of removals (D. Kulka pers. obs).|
|Citation:||Smale, M.J. & Kulka, D.W. 2007. Malacoraja spinacidermis. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 May 2013.|
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