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 - Celtic Sea
Stock detail - VIIf and g
Fish type - White flat fish
The stock is classified as healthy but although fishing mortality is now declining it is still too high. Sole is mainly taken as bycatch in a beam trawl fishery. Avoid sourcing 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.
The spawning-stock biomass (SSB) has been above MSY Btrigger since 2001, but is declining. Fishing mortality (F) has been at or above Fmsy since 2010 and declined in 2015. Recruitment has been fluctuating around average. The 2015 recruitment is estimated to be the second highest in the time-series.
No specific management objectives are known to ICES
Sole is mainly taken in a directed beam trawl fishery (88%) with plaice, rays, brill, turbot and anglerfish, as a bycatch. Otter trawls (9%) are relatively less damaging than beam trawling but are still associated with habitat damage and high levels of discards and bycatch. Minimum landing size for sole in EU waters is 24cm. Sole mature at 30cm.
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 5 http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2016/2016/sol-celt.pdf
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