Good Fish Guide
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 - Skagerrak, Kattegat and Western Baltic Sea
Stock detail - IIIa and 22-24
Fish type - White flat fish
Spawning stock biomass in this area is below target. Avoid eating immature sole (less than 30cm) and fresh (not previously frozen) fish caught during the breeding season (April-June).
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.
Skagerrak, Kattegat and Western Baltic Sea
Following an inter-benchmark process in the autumn of 2015 the perceptionof the stock has changed and new reference points were defined. An assessment is provided for the combined areas, IIIa and 22-24, which were previously assessed as separate stocks.
Spawning-stock biomass (SSB) has been fluctuating between MSY Btrigger and Blim since 2008 and is estimated to be below MSY Btrigger in 2016. Fishing mortality (F) has decreased since 2005 and has been below FMSY since 2010. After a series of low recruitment years the 2013 and 2014 year classes are estimated to be above recent average. The stock is at increased risk although fishing pressure is at a sustainable level.
ICES advises that when the MSY approach is applied, catches in 2017 should be no more than 555 tonnes.
No specific management objectives are known to ICES, there is no management plan for sole in the area.
Sole is taken in this area in a directed trawl fishery with bycatch of Nephrops, plaice and cod and as bycatch in the Nephrops trawl fishery. There is also a directed gillnet fishery, mainly in Skaggerak in spring and summer. Minimum landing size for sole in EU waters is 24cm, sole mature at 30cm. The introduction of sorting grids in trawls may have resulted in smaller bycatch and improved selectivity on sole. Since 2008 exit square mesh panels have been mandatory in the trawl fishery to prevent bycatches of cod.
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.
ICES Advice 2016, Book 6 http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2016/2016/sol-kask.pdf
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