The Common Skate (Raja batis) can grow up to 200lb although fish over 400lb have been caught commercially.The females commonly grow much larger than the males.
Large size (most commonly caught large skate) The Snout is long and anterior margin of the wing is concave on adults, almost straight on juveniles. The backs of males are covered with small prickles more so on the nose area Most R.batis have one median row of spines and two lateral running down the tail and normally have one or two inter-dorsal spines. Colour: Olive grey/brown with white/cream spots on the back, white with numerous small black dots on the underside. On juveniles and males the amount of spots almost make the underside look black.
Both males and females mature at around 10 years old when they are roughly 100lb. Very slow reproduction cycle, with females laying around 40 eggs over a few months, roughly every three years.
Found in depths of 5m down to around 600m and over most types of ground, but most common over clean firm ground. Also it is quite common to find them moving about in small same sex/age groups
Feeds on bottom living crustaceans such as crabs and scallops and most species of fish, often comming well off the bottom for Mackerel, Herring along with the more normal Whiting, Hake, Lesser Spotted Dogfish, Rays and Spurdog.
Found all round the UK although very Scarce now in the Lower North Sea/ English Channel and Irish Sea due to overfishing. The most productive areas are the West coast of Ireland and the Western Isles of Scotland.
This is one of the few fish that has had local populations wiped out by thoughtless anglers in the past, but thanks to good publicity and the Glasgow Museums tagging programme they are slowly re-colonising fished out areas.
The Aquarium Project