In 2003, the New England Fishery Management Council crafted the Northeast Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan to control how barndoor skate and six other skate species could be harvested to ensure their long-term sustainability. Because the barndoor skate population was not at a sustainable level at that time, its harvest was prohibited as part of a strategy to rebuild this stock.
During the past several years, population numbers have increased and, as of September 28, commercial fishermen are again able to catch limited numbers on directed fishing trips for skate wings. Specifically, fishermen in the directed skate fishery may catch up to 650 pounds of barndoor skate wings per trip from May 1 to August 31, and up to 1,025 pounds per trip from September 1 to April 30.
Much of the credit for rebuilding this species goes to the commercial fishermen who adhered to regulations and did not harvest barndoor skate when it was prohibited. They also did their best to avoid barndoor while targeting other skate or fish species. Because of their diligence, commercial fishermen can once again fish for this species, now and into the future.
Barndoor skate is now a sustainable seafood choice. Look for this species on menus and ask for it at your local fish market!