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Environment and Outdoors

Environmental Groups Want Thorny Skate on Endangered List

PORTLAND, Maine - A pair of environmental groups wants the U.S. government to add a species of skate to the list of animals protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Animal Welfare Institute and Defenders of Wildlife say the thorny skate's decline in the northwest Atlantic Ocean is troubling enough that it should be protected. The request is before the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has a year to make a decision.

NOAA says the groups' petition includes "substantial'' information that indicates the listing could be warranted. However, the proposal must first undergo a long review.

The thorny skate is one of at least three Gulf of Maine fish species that are up for potential listing. Fishing groups that already face regulatory pressures say they will contest the listing and new fishing restrictions.