Standard Names: Many species of Skate and Ray, which are not often differentiated at market.
Skates and Rays are on Greenpeace Australia Pacific's Seafood Redlist.
Forest & Bird (NZ) rank Skates E (RED - AVOID) in their Best Fish Guide.
Skates and Rays are slow growing, late to reach sexual maturity and give birth to only a few young, making them susceptible to overfishing. Also, caught as bycatch of a wide range of fisheries, which is worrying.
Skates and Rays are bottom dwelling fish that occur in both inshore and pelagic waters. The edible portion are the 'wings' or 'flaps', the cartilaginous fins used to swim.
They are caught in most Australian waters, usually as bycatch of trawl fisheries including prawn fisheries. The firm, moist flesh is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world but doesn't have as large a following in Australia. The wings of some Rays are used to make Shark-Fin Soup.
TREVALLY has firm, dense flesh that holds together well. It is suited to wet cooking methods such as braising in curries, stews or rice dishes like paella, making it a suitable alternative to Skates and Rays.
Serving skate 'a la meuniere' is a classic preparation involving a light flouring and pan frying in brown butter with capers and parsley. For an alternative fish for this method, try BREAM fillets.
Well-handled Australian Salmon should be firm enough to use as an alternative to skate or ray. Its darker flesh and oilyness make it well suited to Grilling, Smoking or BBQ'ing. Cooked in a wet dish, the flesh of Australian Salmon will be moist and juicy.