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Sandy Ray

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Sandy ray


A relatively large pale sandy coloured ray with a short nose and short tail which is found in deep waters. Often marketed as skate wings. 

Sustainability Overview

Like all rays the sandy ray is a slow growing species that produces a small number of eggs each year, is vulnerable to over fishing and is easily by-caught in nets and trawls. This species is under studied and not common in Cornish waters. 

Updated December 2020

Sustainability ratings for this species

All Applicable Methods

Cornish vessels landing to Cornish ports

This species is caught using many methods but all are scored the same by Cornwall Good Seafood Guide.

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How we rate fish

Cornwall Good Seafood Guide rates fish on sustainability using a scale of 1 to 5.

1, 2 and 3 are recommended, Fish to avoid are rated 5.

We use the system devised by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) so our scores are comparable with the scores produced by MCS for the UK and fisheries from all around the world. For more information on scoring click here.


The Sandy Ray is a large skate that can reach 120cm in length, but is most usually around 70cm. It has a short snout with a very pronounced tip and strong tail which is only slightly longer than the body. This is a little studied species that is found in deep water at depths of between 70 to 275m.

Stock Info

Classed as vulnerable by the ICUN red list.
This species has not been recorded in the Celtic sea by experimental trawling since 1997. Around 1 tonne of sandy rays are landed to Cornish ports each year (MMO data).


All skates and rays are managed by a Total allowable catch quota system in EU waters. There is no specific management plan for demersal elasmobranchs and no management plan for this stock or any skate stock in the ICES area. Given the regional differences in skate assemblages and fisheries, ICES recommends that management measures for elasmobranchs be developed on a case-by-case basis.

Capture Info

Caught in beam trawls demersal trawls and gill nets. 
These fishing methods all have issues with by catch of non target species and impacts on the wider marine environment.


ICES advice 2020
MMO landings data
Shark trust factsheets Shark Trust; 2009. An Illustrated Compendium of Sharks, Skates, Rays and Chimaera. Chapter 1: The British Isles. Part 1: Skates and Rays.
Seafish responsible sourcing guides 
ICES Advice Rays and Skates in the Celtic sea ecoregion 2013
Enever, R., Revill, A., Grant, A. (2009) The survival of skates (Rajidae) caught by demersal trawlers fishing in UK waters. Fisheries Research 97 (1-2) 72-76
Ref  -Cheung, W.W.L., T.J. Pitcher and D. Pauly, 2005. A fuzzy logic expert system to estimate intrinsic extinction vulnerabilities of marine fishes to fishing. Biol. Conserv. 124:97-111
Ungaro, N., Serena, F., Ellis, J., Dulvy, N., Tinti, F., Bertozzi, M., Mancusi, C. & Notarbartolo di Sciara, G. 2009. Leucoraja circularis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 23 January 2015.

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