European Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) – Profile | Traits

(Last Updated On: April 13, 2021)

The European plaice, scientific name Pleuronectes platessa is a commercially important flatfish available in the deep of the sea.

Distribution and Accommodation

The geographical range of the European plaice has closed all the coast from the Barents Sea to the Mediterranean, even outside the northeast Atlantic and Greenland. In some locales, such as the Irish Sea, European plaice is considered to be fully absorbed by commercial fishing.

European plaice is a typical flatfish, which occurs on the sandy and mud bottles of European shelves, usually at depths of 10 to 50 meters where they are sedimented during the day and are found at a depth of about 200 meters at the station. Small fish come to the coastal areas, especially in small water bodies.

They are able to survive at low salt concentrations and in some cases may be brackish or even sweet in water.

European Plaice Description

The European plaice is described above, from their dark green to dark brown skin, with clear spots, but irregularly distributed orange spots. The bottom is pearl white.

With smaller scales, the skin is smoother. They are able to adjust their color somewhat to match the color around them, but the orange spots are always visible. There is no shortage of skin.

The maximum length of the European plaice is about 1 meter (3.3 feet), but adults caught in fishing nets are typically 50 to 60 cm (20 and 24 inches) in length. Its maximum published weight is 7 kg (15 lbs) and its maximum recorded age is 50 years.

The outline of the European plaice is oval. The head is rather short and less than 25% of the total length. The pointy face is fairly small, with the terminal and the maxilla just below the right eye. Both eyes are located on the right side of the body.

Bone twitching is another feature of this species. The lateral line is slightly above the dorsal fin, reaching slightly above the pectoral fin. The dorsal and anal fins are far from the soft feathers.

The anal fin contains 48 to 59 soft rays and is preceded by a spine. The dorsal fin contains 65-79 soft rays, the pastoral fin 10 to 11, and the ventral fin.


European plaice is active at night and feeds on polychaetes, crustaceans, and bivalves. Young plaice (1 to 2 years old) is mainly prone to shrimp.

Life cycle

The main areas of spawning in the North Sea are located in the Southern Rain and the East English Channel. European plaice Spooners Determine where the fecundity is determined before the onset of spawning.

Females are mature, that is, able to span from 3 to 7 years of age. In the North Sea, however, most females mature at 3 years of age. The development of the ovary begins in late August and early September, spanning from December to May. Each female releases eggs in batches every 3 to 5 days for about a month

The eggs hatch about two weeks later and pass passively to the plankton. Approximately 8 to 10 weeks later, larvae flow into plankton and morphology, depending on temperature, during this time they settle into the interstitial zone of sandy beaches.

The larvae exhibit what is sometimes called parasitic tidal transport. Since larvae cannot swim against conventional currents, they use the ability to change their vertical position in the water column to ensure they are transported to suitable habitats.

Upon arrival or flood tides (rising water levels), the larvae move toward the water column and thus migrate toward the ground. At extruded or flowing tides (the water level is decreasing), the larvae move beneath the water column and are not moved away from the interglacial by tidal currents.

When the larvae reach the appropriate place for settlement, an asymmetrical body shape transformation occurs. This can take up to 10 days.

European Plaice

As food

The European plaice is sometimes used as a fish in fish and chips, in which the country’s dishes are popular.

In northern German and Danish dishes, plaice is one of the most consumed fish. Fielded, Peter and pan-fried pies are popular hot or cold as an open sandwich topped with remoulade sauce and lemon slices.

Buttered European plaice French Fries and Rimlade Sauce can be served hot as a main dish; These fish and chips variants are commonly found in children’s restaurants in Danish restaurants.

Breaded iceberg plates, baked or prepared as home-cooked fries, are readily available in supermarkets. The fresh plates are oven-baked.


The European plaice, along with other large demersal fish in the North Sea, such as cod, goldfish, and sole, is listed by ICES as “beyond safe biological limits.” Furthermore, they are now growing less rapidly and are rarely older than six years old, where they can reach 40.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, at 20, “only one of the eight European plaice stocks recognized by ICES is considered to be a sustainable crop, three are highly explored.

Data is insufficient to evaluate the remaining stocks; however, landings of all stocks are at or below historic historical”.

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