Good Fish Guide
Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - Demersal otter trawl
Capture area - North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area - Eastern Channel
Stock detail - VIId
Fish type - White flat fish
Plaice is a long-lived species and subject to high fishing pressure. Stock biomass has increased and is currently around the highest level recorded. Trawl fisheries are associated with high levels of discarding, 43% by weight in 2015. Avoid eating immature plaice below 30cm and during their breeding season, January to March.
Plaice is a bottom-dwelling flatfish. It spawns in the early months of the year (January to March) and sometimes makes long spawning migrations. North Sea plaice reach between 35 and 45 cm in their 6th year. It is a long-lived species, becoming sexually mature at 3-7 years (females) 2-6 (males) and living 30 years or more. Maximum reported age 50 years.
Fishing mortality (F) has declined since the mid-1990s and has been below FMSY since 2009. Spawning-stock biomass (SSB) has increased since 2008 and has been above MSY Btrigger since 2009. Recruitment (R) has been high since 2009. ICES classifies this stock as healthy with full reproductive capacity and it is harvested at the apprpritate sustainable level.
No specific management objectives are known to ICES. There is no management plan for plaice in this area. Management decisions are informed by an annual stock assessment, catches of plaice have closely followed the agreed Total Allowable Catches (TAC) over the last 5 years, and a comprehensive regulatory framework has been put in place. The stock area (Division VIId) does not however match the management area (Divisions VII d and e combined). The large increase in advised catch for Division 7.d could lead to overexploitation in Division 7.e. Scientists advise that separate management areas would be desirable.
Plaice in this area is mainly caught in 80 mm beam-trawl fisheries (53%) for sole and in mixed demersal fisheries using otter trawls (28%). Trammel nets are also used (10%). Bottom trawling can cause damage to the seabed in sensitive areas. Trawl fisheries for plaice have bycatch of both commercial and non-commercial species and high levels of discarding associated with them, particularly for flatfish. The mesh size regulation (80 mm) leads to a large number of plaice being discarded because this mesh size is not matched to the minimum conservation reference size (MRCS) of 27cm for plaice in EU waters. Of a total catch of 6548 t of plaice in the Eastern Channel in 2015, 2821t (43%) was discarded. The approximate size at which 50% of females mature or first spawn is around 30-34cm.
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/ple-eche.pdf
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