, the largest of the European Rajiforms,
was once common around the coastsof Britain (Brander, 1981). In recent years due to fishing pressure, its numbers havereceded dramatically from the Irish Sea (Brander, 1981) and the North Sea (Walker andHislop, 1998). Little is known about the life history characteristics of this species,therefore, to better understand its biological characteristics a study was done, mainly usingthe data collected by the Glasgow Museum Tagging study, but also with data collected bythe author. The data was split into three groups, A, B and C after it became clear that biasdue to fishing effort and local changes in bathymetry influenced the results as a whole togreatly to be analysed. Results showed a significant association between the weight anddepth for female fish in all areas (A, B and C), with larger fish being caught in shallowerdepths, this correlation was strongest in area A (Spearmans Rank Correlation 2-tailed test,p=<0.01). The same correlation was found for all males in the study area as well as(p=<0.05) and there was a strong association in area A (p=<0.01). Using age at maturity as11 years old (Brander, 1981, Ellis and Walker, 2005 and Little 1995), weight at maturitywas estimated to be between 33-42kg for males and 69-96kg for females, these estimatesare substantially higher than those quoted in the literature and suggest, especially formales, that either
matures earlier, or is heavier than previously thought atmaturation. It was found that the economic worth of
in area C is higher than itscommercial value and that charter boat trips annually bring £292,500 to the local economy.
Rajiformes, seasonal migration, maturation, depth, weight, economicworth.