Certifier : 
Acoura Marine Limited trading as LRQA
Certified status : 
Combined with another assessment
Certified since : 
20 Dec 2012
Certificate expires : 
24 Nov 2019


Fisheries are composed of one or more parts, each of which is entitled to receive an MSC certificate. These parts or “units” are defined by their target stock(s), fishing gear type(s) and if relevant vessel type(s), and the fishing fleets or groups of vessels.


Some or all units that participated in this fishery are now covered by another assessment. Please see the Joint demersal fisheries in the North Sea and adjacent waters for more information.

Units of Certification & Certificate Information

View glossary of terms

Catch by Species

Species Reported Catch Year Metric Tonnes
Sole (Solea solea) 2017 14
European plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) 2017 3,406

Information is provided by an independent Conformity Assessment Body as live weight (the weight of species at the time of catch, before processing) and where a fishing season covers multiple years, the end year is given as the reported catch year. Additional information is available in the latest report, see the assessments page.

About this Fishery

The North Sea plaice fishery is a very important fishery for the Netherlands. Dover sole, another species of flatfish, is often caught as bycatch when trawling for plaice, and is also commercially valuable. 

The MSC certificate applies to the twin-rig and out-rig trawl fishery, and part of the fly-shoot fishery (which involves herding fish into nets). 

Stock levels for North Sea plaice and Dover sole are assessed on an annual basis using a robust stock assessment model. Following some years of decline, stocks have grown well above the level at which they are considered healthy, and this growth is expected to continue with current catch levels. 

The fishery operates under a strict long-term management plan. As a requirement of MSC certification, a comprehensive sampling program has been established to assess the catch composition of the various fishing techniques, and to monitor and minimise any interactions with vulnerable or protected species. 

CVO fishers with net image © Goffe Struiksma / MSC

Market Information

The fish is sold whole and filleted, fresh and frozen. Breaded fillets are sold worldwide.