Dover Sole

LAT Solea solea
FRA Sole
ITA Sogliola comune
ESP Lenguado común
GER Seezunge
ENG Dover Sole

A Highly Prized Flatfish

Along with turbot, sole is considered one of the most delicate flatfish. Their flesh is white, aromatic, juicy and has a firm consistency. Specimens from Brittany and Normandy are among the best among gourmets. Its slightly nutty aroma comes into its own best with roasted aromas through golden brown frying.

It is recommended to skin the sole (whole or as fillets) because the tiny, chewy scales fall off quickly after preparation and can be uncomfortable to eat.

Season

All year round

Interesting to Know

The dover sole is a right-eyed flatfish (meaning the eyes are located on the right side) found in the Atlantic from Norway to the coast of Senegal, as well as in the Mediterranean and western Black Sea. It prefers coastal sandy bottoms at depths of 10 to 60 meters, where it buries itself during the day to protect against predators. At night, the dover sole primarily preys on polychaete worms, thin-shelled mollusks, and small crustaceans. A distinctive behavior of this species is its mimicry of the toxic and avoided by other fish weever fish when threatened by predators.

Sexual maturity is reached at 25 to 35 cm and an age of 3 to 5 years, with a maximum size of approximately 60 cm and 2 kg. For spawning, dover soles sometimes undertake long, pelagic migrations to specific spawning areas. Depending on the population, spawning occurs between February and June.

Fisheries and Sustainability

Dover soles are mainly caught using various bottom trawls and set nets. The species is relatively sensitive to overfishing due to its long lifespan, with a maximum achievable age of over 20 years. Different dover sole populations show varying states. While the species is considered overfished in the Mediterranean, populations in the Northeast Atlantic, such as in the North Sea, the English Channel, or the Bay of Biscay, are mostly healthy and can be sustainably harvested.

As a typical bottom-dwelling fish, dover sole is usually caught with bottom trawls or set nets. Although bottom trawling can often cause significant damage to the seafloor, this fishing method can be considered an exception for the dover sole. The impact on the mostly sandy bottoms where it resides is significantly smaller than, for example, in reef environments, making it a more environmentally acceptable method in this case.

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