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Common Skate Thesis

Common Skate Thesis

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ABSTRACT
Dipturus batis, the largest of the European Rajiforms, was once common around the coasts of Britain (Brander, 1981). In recent years due to fishing pressure, its numbers have receded dramatically from the Irish Sea (Brander, 1981) and the North Sea (Walker and Hislop, 1998). Little is known about the life history characteristics of this species, therefore, to better understand its biological characteristics a study was done, mainly using the data collected by the Glasgow Museum Tagging
ABSTRACT
Dipturus batis, the largest of the European Rajiforms, was once common around the coasts of Britain (Brander, 1981). In recent years due to fishing pressure, its numbers have receded dramatically from the Irish Sea (Brander, 1981) and the North Sea (Walker and Hislop, 1998). Little is known about the life history characteristics of this species, therefore, to better understand its biological characteristics a study was done, mainly using the data collected by the Glasgow Museum Tagging

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categoriesTypes, Research, Science
Published by: The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network on Feb 20, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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10/10/2012

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i
ABSTRACT
 Dipturus batis
, 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
 D. batis
matures earlier, or is heavier than previously thought atmaturation. It was found that the economic worth of 
 D. batis
in area C is higher than itscommercial value and that charter boat trips annually bring £292,500 to the local economy.
Keywords:
 D. batis,
Rajiformes, seasonal migration, maturation, depth, weight, economicworth.
 
ii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
My thanks go to:Dr Alastair Lyndon from Heriot Watt University who supervised this project, his continualenthusiasm, assistance and guidance throughout this study was invaluable and greatlyappreciated.Richard Sutcliffe from Glasgow Museums for initially allowing me the use of the GlasgowMuseum Tagging Study data, which he himself has collected since its initiation, but alsofor the continued help and assistance he gave during the project.SNH, SSMEI Sound of Mull Project and Argyll and Bute Council Local BiodiversityAction Plan for funding the project.Dr Jane Dodd for accepting me to undertake the research and for her continued enthusiasm,help and support throughout this study, it made the collection of data in Oban run muchmore smoothly. Thanks also to all staff at t
he Oban SNH office who’s patience and support
was much appreciated.Dr Sarah Cunningham for all of her help and support from beginning to end, especially herguidance with GIS softwareRonnie Campbell for all the boat time he provided for research trips. His continued helpand support throughout the write up of this report was greatly appreciated.I would also like to thank the following people for their contribution to this report: DavyHolt, Professor Jon Side, Adrian Lauder, SSACN, all the anglers who have contributed tothe Glasgow museum tagging project throughout its course
 
iii
CONTENTSTable of Contents Page numberABSTARCT iACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iiTABLE OF CONTENTS iiiTABLE OF FIGURES AND TABLES vABREVIAITONS viiCHAPTER .1 INTRODUCTION 1
1.1 Background on
 D. batis
11.2 Distribution 11.3 Feeding 31.4 Migratory Behaviour 4
1.4.1 Seasonal depth migrations 41.4.2 Population movements and aggregations 5
1.5 Life History 61.6 Pressures 81.7 Potential for Re-populating 11
CHAPTER 2. MATERIALS AND METHODS 12
2.1 The Study Area 122.2 Data Collection 13
 2.2.1 Collection of biological data 13 2.2.2 Extra Field Work undertaken towards this project 16  2.2.3 Measurements from landed fish 18 2.2.4 Collection of economic data 19
2.3 Data Analysis 20
 2.3.1 Population segregation 20 2.3.2 Life history 21 2.3.3 Movement 22 2.3.4 Population estimates 23 2.3.5 Economic importance of D. batis 24 2.3.6 Value of skate compared to commercial market 25 2.3.7 Statistics 26 
CHAPTER 3. RESULTS 27
3.1 Behavioural Ecology of 
 D. batis
27

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