Sole, Dover sole, Common sole
Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - Demersal otter trawl
Capture area - North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area - Irish Sea
Stock detail - VIIa
Fish type - White flat fish
The Irish Sea sole stock is depleted and fishing pressure is above the required MSY level. ICES advises that there be no directed fisheries for this species in the Irish Sea in 2015 and that measures be introduced to reduce bycatch and discards. Avoid eating sole from the Irish Sea.
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.
The spawning stock biomass (SSB) for this stock has been below Blim since 2005. It is assessed as having reduced reproductive capacity or depleted.Fishing mortality has declined since the late 1980s but is still above target for MSY. ICES advises that there should be no directed fisheries in 2015 and that bycatch and discards should be minimised.
No specific management measures are known to ICES.
Sole are predominantly caught by beam trawlers (87%) and otter trawls (12%) in the Irish Sea. Whilst discards of sole are known to be low (6% by weight) in the beam trawl fishery, there can often be high amounts of discarding of other species. Beam trawling, especially using chain-mat gear, is known to have a significant impact on the benthic communities, although less so on soft substrates. Minimum landing size for sole in EU waters is 24cm. Sole mature at 30cm.
ICES Advice 2014, Book 5 http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2014/2014/sol-iris.pdf
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