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 - Irish Sea
Stock detail - VIIa
Fish type - White flat fish
ICES advises that there be zero catch for this species in the Irish Sea in 2017 and 2018 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.
Spawning-stock biomass (SSB) has shown a declining trend since the mid-1980s, being well below Blim since 2004. Although it increased slightly in 2015 stock size is assessed as having reduced reproductive capacity or depleted. The fishing mortality (F) has been declining since the late 1980s and is presently below FMSY. The 2011- 2014 recruitments have been the lowest in the time-series. There was a slight increase in recruitment in 2015. ICES advises that there should be zero catch in each of the years 2017 and 2018.
No specific management measures are known to ICES.
Sole are predominantly caught by beam trawlers (79%) and otter trawls (20%) 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.
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-iris.pdf
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