The European plaice is fully grown at about 30 cm or 12 in, but usually smaller lengths are targeted by commercial fisheries. European plaice show a certain amount of sexual dimorphism: females grow much larger than males and can reach up to 35 lb (16 kg) while males do not exceed 11 lb (5 kg).
European plaice is a relatively short-lived species. The maximum age recorded in the North Sea fisheries is about 30 years, but much smaller sizes are more common. Females grow at a faster rate than males and reach larger sizes, possibly because of better nourishment in the early life stages. There is little information on the spawning behavior of plaice. They are known to spawn in autumn and winter when they move from deeper waters to nearshore habitats where water temperatures are suitable for embryonic development.
European plaice is a benthic marine fish whose adults occur on sand or muddy bottoms at depths between 10 and 50 m. They are usually found over sand or silt substrates, but the juveniles tend to avoid sand because of their vulnerability to predators. This species can be found at depths up to about 500 m. These demersal fish are closely associated with the seabed, inhabiting various kinds of bottoms from sandy substrate near beaches down to soft muddy bottoms in the sea deeper than 100 m. This species is found around the coasts of Britain, Ireland, and western Europe on both sides of the North Sea all around to off northern Norway. European plaice are abundant along the shores of France but are less common in Mediterranean waters. They can be found at depths down to about 500 m with juveniles found in inshore waters. They are not common around the coasts of Iceland and Greenland, but they occur on both sides of the Bay of Biscay and off Madeira, where it is abundant at depths of 40 m. These bottom-living fish tend to migrate from deeper waters during autumn and winter to waters nearshore.
European plaice are caught with trawls, dredges and they are also fished by gillnet. Gilling is considered to be sustainable but trawling is often limited in some areas due to its impact on the sea bottom. The fishing season varies with the area, but usually, European plaice are taken all year round. Those living in warmer waters have a shorter spawning season than those in colder conditions.
Global european plaice production
Global production of European plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) is estimated to be around 1.3 million tonnes in 2015. The majority of this fish is caught in the North-East Atlantic, with significant catches also made in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Plaice are an important commercial fish species, with their delicious white flesh making them a popular choice for consumers. Fish are also used extensively in the food industry, with around 80% of the global catch being used for fish fingers, surimi, and other processed products.
European plaice populations have been in decline in recent years, due to overfishing and environmental changes. In response to this, the European Union has introduced a number of measures to protect the species, including quotas on catches and minimum size limits. These measures have helped to reduce the pressure on plaice stocks, and populations are now beginning to recover. However, they remain vulnerable, and further conservation action is needed to ensure the long-term future of this important fish.
The European plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) is a commercially important flatfish species that is found in the waters of the North-East Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Black Sea. Global production of this fish is estimated to be around 1.3 million tonnes, with the majority of the catch coming from the North-East Atlantic. Plaice are an important food fish, with their white flesh being popular among consumers. They are also used extensively in the fish processing industry, with around 80% of the global catch being used for fish fingers, surimi, and other processed products.