Certifier : 
Acoura Marine Limited trading as LRQA
Certified status : 
Combined with another assessment
Certified since : 
04 Jun 2009
Certificate expires : 
17 Dec 2021


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 Ekofish Group and Osprey Trawlers North Sea Twin-rigged Plaice for more information.

Units of Certification & Certificate Information

  • No longer in the program
    MSC UoC Number Species Gear Type Ocean Area Status (Units of Certification) Certificate Code
    UoC-0012 European plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) Trawls - Bottom trawls - pair trawls 27 (Atlantic, Northeast) Withdrawn MSC-F-31233 (F-ACO-0037)

View glossary of terms

Catch by Species

Species Reported Catch Year Metric Tonnes
European plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) 2018 1,587

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.

Eligibility, client groups and vessel lists

A fishery may choose to define the members of the fishery certificate. These members can be vessels or other client group members (e.g. companies that own vessels and/or companies that are named as eligible to handle certified product covered within the fishery certificate scope). Please refer to the fishery certificate statement on additional product specific eligibility criteria (e.g. product eligibility limitations, eligibility date, exclusive points of landing and the point where Chain of Custody certificate is required). Please consult the fishery Public Certification Report for product eligibility rationale.

Documents Published on Files
Vessel List 30 Jul 2020 1 files

About this Fishery

North Sea plaice is an important species for the European flatfish fleet. The Dutch Ekofish Group, which operates in the central North Sea between Scotland and Denmark, was the first to receive MSC certification for this species.

The fishery uses twin-rigged otter trawl fishing gear. This involves towing two cone-shaped nets side by side, close to or in contact with the seabed. The net has a large mesh size (120-140mm), which means there is little bycatch. 

The fishery operates under a strict quota management regime, closes during the plaice spawning period and voluntarily avoids a number of sensitive areas. The North Sea plaice stock is assessed on an annual basis. Stocks have been growing recently, and this is expected to continue under current harvest levels.

Twin-rigged otter trawling is a novel technique for fishing North Sea plaice. As part of its certification, the Ekofish Group has committed to further researching its impacts on seabed habitats, and evaluating how cod bycatch in the fishery affects the overall recovery of cod stocks in the North Sea.

“We are persuading other twin-rig fishing vessels who want to make the same changes as us to join our group. That way we can bring more MSC plaice to the market.”

Louwe de Boer, Director, Ekofish Group

Plaice image © Rob op den Brouw

Market Information

Plaice caught by Ekofish Group is sold domestically in the Netherlands and may be exported elsewhere in Northern Europe.