Blonde ray (Raja brachyura)
The blonde ray is a relatively large ray, reaching maximum lengths of 120cm and weights of 18kg. It is light brown in colour on its upper surface, with numerous small dark brown spots that extend to the margins of the wings, and a white underside with a border of prominent prickles. The blonde ray inhabits inshore and coastal shelf waters down to 100m. It prefers to inhabit sandy areas and feeds on crustaceans, worms and fish. The blonde ray is oviparous, with females laying on average 30 eggs per year.
The conservation status of the blonde ray is listed as near threatened on the Irish Red List for cartilaginous fish and by the IUCN Red List.The blonde ray is a bycatch of commercial fisheries. Although this species may be locally abundant, studies indicate that declines have occurred in Irish waters.
The Marine Sportfish Tagging Programme tagged 734 blonde rays from 1971 and 2009 off the coast of Ireland, with a substantial increase from 2001 to 2009. Movements of more than 100km by individual blonde rays have been recorded.