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Sole, Dover sole, Common sole

Solea solea

Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - Beam trawl
Capture area - North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area - Bay of Biscay
Stock detail - VIIIa,b,d
Accreditation -
Fish type - White flat fish

Sustainability rating Click for explaination of rating

This fish, caught by the methods and in the area listed above, is not a good choice of sustainable fish to eat and should be only eaten very occasionally. Click on the rating icon above to read more and on the alternatives tab below to find more sustainable fish to eat.


Sustainability overview

The stock has been decreasing since 2012 and is currently below the required level. Fishing mortality is above the rate required to meet maximum sustainable yield. Avoid eating immature sole (less than 30cm) and fresh (not previously frozen) fish caught during the breeding season (April-June).

Biology

Sole is a right-eyed flatfish (eyes on the right hand side of the body) and belongs to the family of flatfishes known as Soleidae. It spawns in spring and early summer in shallow coastal water, from April to June in the southern North Sea, from May-June off the coast of Ireland and southern England, and as early as February in the Mediterranean. Common sole become sexually mature at 3-5 years, when 25-35cm long, the males being somewhat smaller than the females. It can attain lengths of 60-70cm and weigh 3kg.The maximum reported age is 26 years. Sole is a nocturnal predator and therefore more susceptible to capture by fisheries at night than in daylight.

Stock information

Stock area
Bay of Biscay

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Stock information
The spawning stock biomass for the Bay of Biscay sole increased from a historical low in 2003 but has been decreasing since 2012 and is currently just below MSY B trigger. During this period fishing pressure has been stable but is too high and above MSY. ICES recommends that catches in 2015 should be no more than 2407 t (3270 t in 2014).

Management

A multi annual management plan was first put in place in 2006 to restore the spawning stock to 13,000 t by 2008 and thereafter ensure the sustainable exploitation of the stock. A long-term target fishing mortality rate and rate of reduction to achieve this has yet to be decided. The management plan has not yet been evaluated by ICES.

Capture information

The French fleet, which consists mainly of trawlers and fixed-nets, is the major participant with landings comprising about 90% of the total. Landings of the fixed-net fishery comprise 60%. Bycatch of non-commercial species and discards are estimated to be limited in this fishery. Beam trawling, especially using chain-mat gear, is known to have significant impact on seabed and benthic communities. It is also associated with high levels of discard. Whilst discards of sole are known to be low in the beam trawl fishery, there is substantial discarding of non-commercial species and commercial species of unmarketable size. Minimum landing size for sole in EU waters is 24cm.

Read more about capture methods

Alternatives

Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below . Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Dab Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Halibut, Atlantic Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Halibut, Greenland Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Halibut, Pacific

Sole, Dover sole, Common sole Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Turbot Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.


References
ICES Advice 2014, Book 7 http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2014/2014/sol-bisc.pdf

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