By Associated Press - Friday, April 8, 2016

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Scientists with Boston’s New England Aquarium are working on research projects to better inform the management of an imperiled species of skate.

Federal surveys indicate the thorny skate’s population has declined dramatically since the late 1960s.

Researcher Jeff Kneebone says scientists have been tagging thorny skates in the Gulf of Maine to learn about their movement patterns. That will help determine if the skates cross over into Canadian waters, where they are not protected as they are in U.S. waters.

Kneebone says scientists are also working with commercial fishermen who sometimes catch thorny skates by accident. He says the work will help determine how many skates survive accidental bycatch.

Federal regulators are considering whether to add the thorny skate to the list of animals protected under the Endangered Species Act.

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