Quality mark Cultivation
/Keurmerk Wild
Second choice


Rajidae spp
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Atlantic Ocean, north-east (FAO 27)

Farming- / Catch method

Beam trawl

Fish stocks and fishing pressure
Ecosystem effects
Fishery management
Final assessment
Explanation assessment

Several species of ray are often traded under the same name. Two North Sea species, the thornback ray and smalleyed ray, are on the IUCNIUCN:
International Union for the Conservation of Nature, an international institute for nature and natural resources. It is a partnership with both non-governmental organizations and governments. 
red list of endangered species. Rays are vulnerable to [fishing pressure], because the grow slowly have a low fecundity, and reach sexual maturity late. They get up to 50 years old, but due to the fishery in the North Sea, this age is not reached anymore. Rays are bycatch in the fishery on plaice and sole. There is evidence that they are often discarded.

In the [beam trawl] fishery more than 50% of the catch is discarded, of which the main part dies. The seafloor is ploughed by the heavy tickler chains that are used to get the flatfish out of the seafloor. The fuel usage is very high in this fishing method.

The management of rays is not effective and catches are often not registrated well, different species of sharks and rays are put in the same category. A decrease of the total bottom fishery intensity would be good for rays.


Sharks & Rays

Sharks and rays belong to the Chondrichthyes. This means that, unlike other fish, their entire skeleton is made of cartilage. Because rays can be more specialized in their choice of food, their habitats are often smaller and less widespread than sharks habitats.  Sharks are more mobile and do not live close to the sea bottom, therefore, their habitats are more vast and diverse. Sharks and rays inhabit all world seas. Their reproduction rate is fairly slow which makes rays and sharks populations very vulnerable to fishing pressure.




Rays are, like sharks, cartilaginous fish. This means they have a skeleton of cartilage instead of bone. There are many ray species. In the North Sea the stingray, thornback ray, thorny skate and spotted ray are found, among others. Their length varies from from 30 cm to 2.5 m. They live mainly on the sea floor in coastal waters, with some species that live in deeper waters.