Certifier : 
Lloyds Register (Acoura)
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
07 Jun 2012
Certificate expires : 
24 Nov 2019


Common sole is a widely distributed species, extending from the Mediterranean and Northwest African coast, as far south as Senegal, to the Irish Sea, southern North Sea and Skagerrak and Kattegat. During the winter months they move to warmer offshore waters, but spawning fish return to the same spawning grounds every Spring.

Vessels belonging to the Danish Fishermen’s Producer Organization (DFPO) operate in the central eastern North Sea. This is near the northern limit of the species, but includes some of the highest concentrations of sole, and important nursery grounds. 

Larger vessels use demersal or bottom otter trawls (single, twin and pair) – cone-shaped nets with a closed cod-end and extending lateral wings, which are towed along the seabed. Other vessels use set nets (gillnets or trammel nets).

A management plan is in place to rebuild depleted stocks, which is proving successful. As a condition of certification, the fishery is making a number of improvements. These include setting harvest limits that will enable sole to be harvested at the maximum sustainable yield, improving the management of other retained species such as Norwegian lobster, and demonstrating which habitat types may be affected by the fishery and how any potential impacts will be limited.