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European Plaice (North Sea)
Photo: Ingunn E. Bakketeig
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European Plaice (North Sea)

European Plaice are distributed in the eastern Atlantic from the Barents Sea in the north and south to the northwest coast of Africa.

There are a number of different of stocks, but the North Sea stock is by far the largest.

Adults migrate each year between spawning areas in central and southern parts of the North Sea and undertake feeding migrations to areas further north.

There is evidence that at least parts of this migration take place in pelagic waters. Plaice occur at depths down to 200 m. Younger individuals are concentrated in shallow coastal waters, especially in the eastern portion. 

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Scientific name: Pleuronectes platessa
Family: Pleuronectidae (flounder family)
Maximum size: 1 m and 7 kg (Seldom more than 40 cm and 0.5 kg in the North Sea; females grow much faster than males and reach larger sizes)
Maturation: Usually occurs at 2-3 years of age, and later for females than for males.
Lifespan: 20 years
Spawning area: Central and southern North Sea
Spawning season: January–February
Diet: Benthic


Distribution map

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Status, advice and fisheries

According to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the stock is in good condition and harvested sustainably.

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