Back to top

SMPS - Plaice

Plaice - Pleuronectes platessa

Version number: 1.0 Management plan review date: April 2013  

Date updated: January 2014

Fishery location: Across the district

Fishing Gear: Recreational Sea Angling, nets, trawls

Season: all year, more seen at the end the winter

Primary Management Tool: None

Lead Regulator: None

Quota: non-quota species


Plaice are an important part of the benthic ecosystem which is affected by the methods of fishing used to catch them. The increase fishing pressure on this species due to a mixed beam trawling fishery for sole and plaice with 80 mm has led to increased mortality of undersized plaice which is thought may result in an age and size of maturity reduction in plaice and other benthic species.


Plaice is most commonly a right eyed flatfish with distinctive bony tubercles behind the eyes. Plaice can vary considerably in colouration depending on the location and substrate they live on but are generally brown-grey on the topside [BH1] with  varying shades of orange spots[BH2]  which may or may not always be visible. This variability in colouration camouflages plaice against the seabed of sand, gravel and mud which they are usually found living over. They are commonly found in coastal shallow waters down to 100 m or more, plaice feed on bottom living invertebrates, including molluscs, polychaete worms and small fish. Females spawn in late winter producing planktonic larvae which remain in the water column during larval stages.

 [BH1]They adapt in colour to their surroundings

 [BH2]Not always visable


Plaice_future research


Officers undertake both shore-based and sea-based enforcement. Intelligence is collected by officers conducting regular patrols both at sea and ashore.