Good Fish Guide
Sole, Dover sole, Common sole
Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - Beam trawl
Capture area - North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area - Southwest Ireland
Stock detail - VIIh-k
Fish type - White flat fish
The state of the stock in this area is unknown with respect to reference points and more detailed stock assessment is required. Stock size is however estimated to be increasing and fishing pressure slowly decreasing. 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.
The state of the stock in this area is unknown and reference points are not defined. Assessment of the stock is a trend-based one. The spawning-stock biomass (SSB) shows an increasing trend since 2005. Fishing mortality (F) shows a slowly decreasing trend since 2000. Recruitment is estimated to have been above average in the last two years.
No specific management objectives are known to ICES, there is no management plan for sole in the area.
Sole in this area are mainly taken by otter (56%) and beam trawlers (38%). Beam trawling, especially using chain-mat gear, is known to have significant impact on seabed and benthic communities. Whilst discards of sole are considered negligible in the fishery, there is discarding of non-commercial species and commercial species of unmarketable size. Some beam trawlers are experimenting with benthic drop-out panels that release about 75% of benthic invertebrates from the catches. Full square mesh codends are being tested in order to reduce the capture of benthos further and improve selectivity of gadoids (cod and whiting etc). 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/2015/2015/sol-7h-k.pdf
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