Fact File:

Common Name(s): Plaice

Scientific Name: Pleuronectes platessa

Usual Size:25-40 cm

UK Record Weights from rod/line:

Shore: 8-06-14 Southbourne Beach RW Moore 1989

Boat: 10-03-08 Longa Sound, Scotland H Gardiner 1974

MAFF Minimum Size: Shore: Boat:

NFSA minimum size, shore: 28 cm, boat: 28 cm

Eyes on the right, upper side, which is brown with prominent red-orange spots. Underside white. Scales are smooth and the lateral line is almost straight. A line of bony knobs runs along the head from lateral line to the eyes.

North Sea populations spawn during late winter - early spring in depths of 20-50 m. The eggs (up to 500,000) are shed and fertilised above the sea bed in areas of sufficient salinity for them to float, and a temperature of around 6 degrees C. The eye moves round during the pelagic larval stage at 35-40 days (11 mm), and the miniature adult becomes bottom living at 45-50 days. Maturity is reached at 5-7 years (North Sea stock) at 33-43 cm.

Bottom-dwelling on sand and muddy substrates. May inhabit depths of over 100 m, but usually found at 10-50 m, with younger fish closer inshore.

Worms and crustaceans, with bivalves and small fish featuring in the diet of larger plaice.

Throughout UK waters.

Additional Notes:
The plaice is an important commercial fish. North Sea landings of plaice reached a record high in the early 1990s, leading to a sharp decline in spawning stock to a level outside safe biological limits.

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