Species Profile

Winter Skate Gulf of St. Lawrence population

Scientific Name: Leucoraja ocellata
Taxonomy Group: Fishes
Range: Atlantic Ocean
Last COSEWIC Assessment: May 2015
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status

Individuals of this species may be protected under Schedule 1 under another name; for more information see Schedule 1, the A-Z Species List, or if applicable, the Related Species table below.

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Image of Winter Skate

Winter Skate Photo 1



Federal Protection

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.



PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

3 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Winter Skate, Gulf of St. Lawrence population (2015)

    Abundance of mature individuals is estimated to have declined 99% since the early 1980s, and is now at a historically low level. There has also been a severe reduction in range size, which is also at a historical low.  If current trends continue, this population is in danger of imminent extinction.  There is no commercial fishery for this population, though declines in the 1970s and 1980s may have been due to an unsustainable rate of mortality from bycatch in fisheries targeting other groundfish species. The species has a slow rate of population growth, and the main threat appears to be unsustainably high non-fishing mortality, possibly due to predation by Grey Seals.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2014-2015 (2015)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to "assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species". COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2014 to September, 2015) from November 23 to November 28, 2014 and from April 27 to May 1, 2015. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 56 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2014-2015 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 1 Endangered: 21 Threatened: 11 Special Concern: 21 Data Deficient: 1 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 56 Of the 56 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 40 that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 24 of those wildlife species resulted in a confirmation of the same risk status as the previous assessment.