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Fisheries

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Sole and plaice (Solea solea and Pleuronectes platessa)

Sole and plaice © Scandinavian Fishing Year Book
Sole and plaice are flatfish which live in shallow water on or close to the sea floor, where they burrow into sandy or muddy bottoms. They feed on small bottom-dwelling invertebrates, including worms and crustaceans. They are to be found throughout EU waters, as far north as the North Sea. When they are born, they have a distinct right and left side to their body, with one eye on each side. One of the eyes then migrates to the other side, which becomes the topside of the fish during the rest of its life.

Common sole live up to eight years, and can reach a length of 70cm and a weight of 3 kg. Their average size is 30 to 40 cm. They reach sexual maturity at around three years old.

Plaice can live up to 50 years, reaching 1 metre in length and 7 kg in weight, but their average size is similar to that of sole, and they also reach sexual maturity at around three years old.

Sole and plaice are caught by trawling and with gill nets.

Conservation status

Most stocks seem to be stable although some are experiencing decline.

Long-term plans

EU flatfish stocks currently covered by long-term management plans are