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Status, advice and fisheries 2012

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

The spawning stock is over twice the precautionary limit and has reached record levels, while the fishing mortality rate is far below the level for maximum sustainable yield. Recruitment in recent years has been stable, but slightly below
average. ICES recommended (in agreement with Norway) an 84,410 t limit for landings in 2012 based on the EU management plan, while the upper precautionary quota is 155,500 t.


Of the total North Sea fishing quota, EU-countries are allocated 93% and Norway 7%. The process has been initiated to develop a joint management plan for the stock; Norway has agreed upon the major principles. Plaice in the Skagerrak are treated as a separate population, but population analyses have not yet been conducted.  In 2010, the total quota was 63,825 t, and 61,000 t of landings were reported, of which Norway captured 1,089 t.  It is estimated, however, that discards totalled over 45,000 t.  For 2011, the quota was 73,400 t, of which 5,138 t were allocated to Norway. Official landings in 2011 totalled 70,000 t, of which approximately 1,000 t were taken by Norway.

The 2012 quota for the North Sea 2012 is 84,410 t — representing a 15% increase — and 7,950 t for Skagerrak. Of these totals, Norway has been allocated 5,909 t and 159 t, respectively. Plaice co-occur with sole in trawl nets, and are often considered as by-catch. The Netherlands generally dominates total landings; however, Denmark, Belgium, and Germany also are major participants in the fishery.


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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