The common skate is the largest skate in the world. It was once found around the entire British coastline but unsustainable levels of fishing throughout the 19th and 20th centuries have reduced the species to only the west coast of Scotland and Orkney.
The common skate has been shown by angler led (SSACN’s Scottish Shark tagging Programme) and scientific studies to remain in a relatively small geographical area year round and this is one of those areas.
They lay large egg-cases, are slow growing and take a long time to reach sexual maturity therefore the rate of any recovery of the population is likely to be slow and would therefore benefit from spatial protection in addition to the existing ban on fishing vessels landing them.
The current conservation objective is to conserve the protected features of this MPA.
In 2006 we were told by the fisheries minister of the time (Mr Finnie) that sea anglers had no right getting involved in fisheries management – well done to the volunteer taggers, SSACN staff and project officers Julie Hope and Lewis Cowie who worked together to make all this possible.
More detail on the designation is available from the SNH website.
The final Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment for this MPA is available to view.
Additional information generated through the process can be found here.