Amblyraja jenseni 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Rajiformes Rajidae

Scientific Name: Amblyraja jenseni (Bigelow & Schroeder, 1950)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Jensen's Skate
French Raie à Queue Courte, Raie de Jensen
Raja jenseni Bigelow & Schroeder, 1950
Taxonomic Notes: In the northwest Atlantic, this species is easily confused with Arctic skate (A. hyperborea) with overlapping distribution (Bigelow and Shroeder 1953, Jensen 1848, Stehman and Burkel 1984).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-01
Assessor(s): Kulka, D.W., Orlov, A. & Barker, A.
Reviewer(s): Dulvy, N.K., Valenti, S.V. & Fowler, S.L. (Shark Red List Authority)
Jensen's Skate (Amblyraja jenseni) is a little-known deepwater skate, occurring from southern New England, USA, Nova Scotia and Grand Banks to Labrador, Canada, in the Northwest Atlantic, to waters off Ireland in the Northeast Atlantic, including the Mid-Atlantic ridge. The species occurs at depths of 167-2,548 m, with a shallower distribution in the northwest Atlantic, and in deeper water in the northeast Atlantic. Although part of the species’ range is fished in the northwest Atlantic, the species’ wide depth range in this area (to 2,311 m), its occurrence over the mid-Atlantic ridge and at great depths in the northeast Atlantic, offer refuges from fishing pressure. Increasing density with depth suggests that the majority of the population occurs well beyond areas surveyed and fished. In the absence of major potential threats and data to suggest declines, the species is assessed as Least Concern. If deepwater fisheries expand to greater depths within this species’ range in future, this assessment should be revisited.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Recent data suggests that the species has a continuous range in the northern Atlantic, from the USA coast to waters off Ireland, including the mid-Atlantic ridge (Orlov et al. 2006).

Northwest Atlantic: off Canada, slope waters of the Labrador Shelf (60°02’N), the Flemish Cap, the Grand Banks, Scotian,Shelf to southern New England, USA (Alpoim et al. 2002, Bigelow and Schroeder 1953,Templeman 1965, Leim and Scott 1966, Moore et al. 2003, D. Kulka pers. obs.).

Northeast Atlantic: only known from a few records north of Ireland (Gordon and Duncan 1987, 1989; Quero et al. 2000).

Note: A. jenseni may have a wider distribution in slope waters than described above, particularly in the northeast Atlantic as surveys and fisheries may not reach depths where they are distributed.

FAO Fishing Areas: 21, 27.
Countries occurrence:
Canada (Labrador, Nova Scotia); Ireland; United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – northwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):2548
Upper depth limit (metres):167
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Overall, the population size is not known and no data are available to show trends in abundance.

For the Grand Banks to the Labrador Shelf, out of 47,141 trawl survey sets to a maximum depth of the 1,455 m and dating back to the 1950s, only 85 sets contained 147 A. jenseni. Most trawls containing skates were recorded since 1995 when the maximum depths surveyed increased thus the increasing index may not reflect an increasing population (D. Kulka pers. comm.).

A scientific survey expedition during summer 2004, using bottom trawls (to depths of 3,500 m) and bottom longlines (to depths of 4,500 m) off the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, from the Azores to the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone collected only 14 A. jenseni (Orlov et al. 2006).

Nothing is known of the population structure, but differences found in the external morphology of the species in different parts of its range may indicate that separate populations exist.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:A bathydemersal species, occurring at depths of 167 to 2,548 m (at an average depth of 1,213 m) (Orlov et al. 2006). In the northwest Atlantic the species occurs in shallower waters (167 to 2,311 m, with mean 846 m) and deeper waters in the northeast Atlantic (1,800 to 2,190 m, with mean 2,052 m). Average depth of capture in Canadian waters (Grand Banks to Labrador Shelf) was about 1,100 m where the benthic temperature averaged about 3.5°C.

The species’ size also varies in different areas of its range, with the largest skates recorded on the mid-Atlantic ridge (measuring an average of 92.61 cm total length (TL)) and considerably smaller skates found on the USA and European continental slopes (49.68 cm TL and 46.85 cm TL, respectively) (Orlov et al. 2006). Size range in the northwest Atlantic is 33 to 112 cm TL (n=163, D. Kulka pers. obs.). Overall, mean TL for female skates is 72.31 cm and for males, 80.3 cm TL (Orlov et al. 2006). Maximum recorded size is 112 cm TL (A. Orlov and D. Kulka pers. obs. 2006). Like other skates, the species is presumably oviparous.

Prey includes small teleost fishes and crustaceans (Bigelow and Schroeder 1953).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threat to the species is fisheries and it is probably taken as bycatch by some deepwater trawl fisheries operating in the northwest, and possibly northeast Atlantic. There is no directed fishery. 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. 2006). About 10 to 20% of the northwest Atlantic slope is fished annually (D. Kulka pers. obs. 2006).

Although part of the species’ range is fished in the northwest Atlantic, the species’ wide depth range in this area (to 2,311 m), its occurrence over the mid-Atlantic ridge and at great depths in the northeast Atlantic, offer refuges from fishing pressure. Given that the species occurs mainly at depths exceeding 1,000 m, bycatch is expected to be minimal.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No regulations exist for this species.

Classifications [top]

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

Bibliography [top]

Bigelow, H.B. and Schroeder, W.C. 1953. Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Part 2: sawfishes, guitarfishes, skates and rays. Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Gordon, J.D.M. and Duncan, J.A.R. 1987. Deep-sea bottom living fishes at two repeat stations at 2 200 and 2 900 m in the Rockall Trough, northeast Atlantic Ocean. Marine Biology 96: 309-325.

Gordon, J.D.M. and Duncan, J.A.R. 1989. A note on distribution and diet of deep-water rays (Rajidae) in an area of the Rockall Trough. Journal of Marine Biology Association of the United Kingdom 69: 655-658.

IUCN. 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2009.2). Available at: (Accessed: 3 November 2009).

Jensen, Ad.S. 1948. Rajidae. Contributions to the Ichthyofauna of Greenland, pp. 1-183. Spolia Zoologica Musei Hauniensis.

Leim, A.H. and Scott, W.B. 1966. Fishes of the Atlantic Coast of Canada. Bulletin of Fisheries Research Board of Canada 155: 1-485.

Moore, J.A., Hartel, K.E., Craddock, J.E. and Gallbraith, J.K. 2003. An annotated list of deepwater fishes from off the New England region, with new area records. Northeastern Naturalist 10(2): 159-248.

Orlov, A. Cotton, C. and Byrkjedal, I. 2006. Deepwater skates (Rajidae) collected during the 2004 cruises of R.V. “G.O.Sars” and M.S. “Loran” in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge area. Cybium 30(4): 35-48.

Quero, J.-C., Lorance, P. and Tardy, E. 2000. Observations ichtyologiques effectuees en 1999 a bord du navire de recherche “Thalassa”. Annales de la Societe des Sciences Naturelles de la Chartente-Maritime 8: 1047-1058.

Stehmann, M. and Bürkel, D.L. 1984. Rajidae. In: P.J.P. Whitehead, M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen and E. Tortonese (eds), Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, pp. 163–196. UNESCO, Paris.

Templeman, W. 1965. Rare skates of the Newfoundland and neighboring areas. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 22: 259-279.

Citation: Kulka, D.W., Orlov, A. & Barker, A. 2009. Amblyraja jenseni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T161491A5436001. . Downloaded on 18 June 2018.
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