Feds might allow fishermen to catch more East Coast skates

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The federal government is looking to allow fishermen to catch more skates, which are caught on both coasts for use as food and bait.

Skates are bottom-dwelling fish that are often sold in fish markets as “skate wing.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is proposing to increase the annual catch limit for skates by about 8 percent, to nearly 70 million pounds.

The biggest skate producing states are Alaska, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, though the fish are brought to land as far south as California on the West Coast and North Carolina on the East Coast. The proposed rule changes would apply to a management plan for Northeastern skates.

NOAA is accepting public comments about the proposal until Aug. 6.