Near Extinction of a Large, Widely Distributed Fish

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Science  31 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5377, pp. 690-692
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5377.690

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Are extinctions of marine vertebrates as rare and unlikely as current data indicate? Long-term research surveys on the continental shelf between the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and southern New England reveal that one of the largest skates in the northwest Atlantic, the barndoor skate (Raja laevis), is close to extinction. Forty-five years ago, research surveys on St. Pierre Bank (off southern Newfoundland) recorded barndoor skates in 10% of their tows; in the last 20 years, none has been caught, and this pattern of decline is similar throughout the range of the species.

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