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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 - Southwest Ireland
Stock detail - VIIh-k
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 the least sustainable fish to eat and should be avoided. Click on the rating icon above to read more and on the alternatives tab below to find sustainable fish to eat.


Sustainability overview

The stock size has declined to the lowest observed level. Fishing pressure is too high and total catches unknown. Discards are in the order of 35% (by weight). Plaice is a long-lived species and is vulnerable to high fishing pressure. 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
Southwest Ireland

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Stock information
This is a trend-based assessment. Spawning-stock biomass (SSB) has been lower than average since 2002 and the 2016 SSB is the lowest of the time-series. Fishing mortality (F) is highly variable but shows no long-term trend. Recruitment-at-age 4 in 2015 was also the lowest in the time-series. Stock size has declined to the lowest observed level and fishing pressure is too high and estimated as above the proxy for F MSY. The apparent reduction in SSB in 2015 is mainly driven by a reduction in relative abundance of young fish in recent years. However, it is unclear to scientists whether this lack of young fish in the landings is due to increased discarding or poor recruitment. Discards are in the order of 35% for otter trawls.

Management

No specific management objectives are known to ICES. Because plaice is caught in distinct areas, restricting effort in areas where plaice are caught will be more effective than limiting total landings.

Capture information

Plaice catches in Division VIIj represent half of the total catch in the area and are mainly caught by Irish vessels fishing on sandy grounds off the southwest of Ireland. Trawling is associated with discarding of unwanted fish, i.e. undersized and/or non-quota and/or over-quota species. Discard rates are unknown as the total catch is unknown but are in the order of 35%. The minimum landing size for plaice in EU waters is 27cm. 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 5 http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2016/2016/ple-7h-k.pdf

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