Top 10 Most Endangered Fish Species


Winter Skate

Winter Skate: Made into fishmeal and critically endangered.
Winter Skate: Made into fishmeal and critically endangered.
Joseph Kunkel, Professor, University of Massachusetts

The winter skate is a fascinating species known to deter predators and stun prey with a quick jolt of electricity. Most are found in the northwest Atlantic Ocean, from the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada to North Carolina in the United States. Once thought to be a "trash fish," the winter skate is now harvested and processed into fishmeal and lobster bait, and is even marketed for human consumption. Increased trawling for the species has resulted in the accidental capture of juveniles, which are easily mistaken for smaller, more abundant species. This has led to a staggering population decline among winter skate, which are slow to reach sexual maturity and have few offspring. Experts blame these factors for a 90 percent reduction in mature individuals since the 1970s. This devastating decline has earned the winter skate a critically endangered rating from the IUCN.