WHAT IS SKATE?
With a nutty flavor and texture often compared to crab, this cartilaginous fish is a member of the shark and ray family. With a flat, pancake shape, mouth on the underside and eyes on top of their body they have one of the more unusual shapes around. They lay their eggs in a sac called the mermaid’s purse. It’s tail contains 2 organs running along its length that generate electricity! However unlike other electrogenic fishes, the skate’s unable to generate enough electricity to stun or hunt. And while this is an expensive dish at restaurants, you rarely see it in supermarkets. The flesh can spoil quickly while at the same time if too young it still has a tough texture. But served properly this is a very easy fish to de-bone and serve.
WHERE DO SKATE COME FROM?
In the last 100 million years this fish has stayed pretty much the same. Scientists have noticed that the neural wiring of this fish is the same as what humans use to walk. This creature uses its large pectoral fins to swim with alternating left-right motions. Also known as ambulatory location, this is basically the origin of walking.
WHEN IS SKATE IN SEASON?
Since skate can live for up to 50 years, they can be fished for year-round. However the fish are also territorial which means over-fishing in regional areas will eliminate the entire population present.
IS SKATE ONE OF THE DIRTY DOZEN? (MERCURY)
Like most other bottom feeders, they are lower in the food chain then most other fish. So despite having a long life span (with which to build up mercury), they’re relatively safe to eat!
HOW ARE SKATES AND STINGRAYS DIFFERENT?
They are very similar in appearance and eating habits. However the ray’s tail has spines which it attacks when it uses it as a whip. Rays do not. Rays also lay eggs while stingrays give birth to live young. Skates in general are more numerous in the world’s oceans then rays.