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Plaice

Pleuronectes platessa

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
Certification -
Fish type - White flat fish

Sustainability rating Click for explaination of rating

This fish, caught by the methods and in the area listed above, is not the most sustainable choice of fish to eat. Click on the rating icon above to read more and on the alternatives tab below to find more sustainable fish to eat.


Sustainability overview

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.

Biology

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 45cm 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.

Stock information

Stock area
Eastern Channel

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Stock information
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.

Management

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.

Capture information

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.

Read more about capture methods

Alternatives

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.

Dab Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Flounder Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Halibut, Atlantic (Farmed) Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Halibut, Pacific

Sole, Dover sole, Common sole Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Turbot (Farmed)


References
ICES Advice 2016, Book 6 http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2016/2016/ple-eche.pdf

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