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Petition to List Thorny Skate Accepted

October 26, 2015

In response to a petition from Defenders of Wildlife and Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) to list thorny skate (Amblyraja radiata) under the Endangered Species Act, we have prepared a 90-day finding. We accept the petition and are initiating a review of the status of the species.

The petition, which we received in May 2015, requested that we list a "Northwest Atlantic Distinct Population Segment" or a "United States Distinct Population Segment" of thorny skate as threatened or endangered. The petition also requested a designation of critical habitat for thorny skate. 

The petitioners claim that the species numbers have been declining since the 1970s, and that the species is threatened by illegal landings, bycatch and discard mortality, inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms (related to fishing), global climate change and hypoxia, and natural stochastic events. 

We will now start a review of the status of the species to determine if listing the species or any potential distinct population segments is warranted. We are asking for public input through the Federal Register notice published today. 

You may submit information or data on this document by either any of the following methods: 

The deadline for submissions is December 28.

Our determination will be published as a notice in the Federal Register within 12 months.

Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel, Regional Office, at 978-281-9175 or