Last updated on 5 November 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Microstomus kitt

SPECIES NAME(s)

Lemon sole

COMMON NAMES

lemon sole, lemon dab, Mary sole, Merry sole, smear dab, sweet fluke, sand fluke, sole fluke, sand sole, tobacco fluke

Lemon sole are a commercially important catch component of multispecies fisheries in the Western English Channel. While stock identification data is limited for lemon sole (ICES 2010), a Jennings et al. (1993) study indicated that the population in the Western English Channel was spatially and temporally distinct enough to merit treatment as a separate management unit.


ANALYSIS

Strengths

1)There is a minimum size limit enforced for Cornwall fisheries (IFCA 2011), and the European Commission also observes this limit as a “minimum marketing standard” (lemon sole can only be sold if individuals exceed 180gm/25 cm) (Seafish 2014b).
2)Juvenile lemon sole appear to have low vulnerability in the fishery (Seafish 2014a).
3)There has been an overall reduction in beam trawl effort since the establishment of limits and restrictions in the Sole Recovery Zone in 2004 (MMO 2014), and there is evidence that these measures have benefited sole and plaice stocks in the area (Seafish 2014a).
4)There are abundance indicator series comprised of annual catch and survey data, and these data indicate that the stock is resilient to recent harvest levels (ICES 2010; 2013c).
5)There is some evidence of stock structure, suggesting that the Western English Channel stock merits treatment as a unique management unit (Jennings et al. 1993).

Weaknesses

1)Lemon sole fisheries are multi-species, and there are no specific harvest limits for the Western English Channel stock, with the exception of the minimum size limit in Cornwall.
2)There is insufficient stock assessment data to allow estimation of biological reference points or establishment of biologically based harvest control rules (Seafish 2014a).
3)Impacts from discarding of commercially unimportant or undersized catch are significant in the beam and otter trawl harvests off the Southwest UK (Catchpole 2009; EC 2011). Numbers for all species are not regularly accounted for, though juvenile lemon sole are not likely to be significantly impacted (Seafish 2014a). While a variety of technical innovations and regulatory strategies to reduce discards are being explored with some promising results (Catchpole 2013), some of the impending changes being introduced under the new European discard policy are likely to have varying success.The transition from landing quotas to catch quotas may not reduce discards in Western English Channel trawl fisheries, where discarding is primarily market rather than regulation driven (Catchpole et al. 2013).
4)There is potential for destruction of benthic habitat from trawl gears. Though protection measures in various conservation areas are evolving, there is a persistent lack of data on the distribution of sensitive benthic habitats, making it difficult to minimize risk imposed by the fishery (Seafish 2014a).
5)Understanding of the biology and ecology of lemon sole is lacking, particularly with regard to distribution of juveniles and spawning locations (Burt et al. 2013; Seafish 2014b).
6)There are a number of protected and endangered shark and skate species that are encountered in the fishery.Among the more depleted species according to the IUCN, and based on a recent ecological risk assessment (Seafish 2014a; 2014b) the undulate ray (Raja undulata), common skate (Dipturus baits complex), angel shark (Squatina squattina), and white skate (Rostroraja alba) may be at greatest risk in Southwest UK fisheries generally. However catches are limited due to landing restrictions and the relative scarcity of these species.
7)Proportions of larger size fish in the fishery have declined over time, indicating a trend of decreasing stability in the fish community (Seafish 2014a).

Options

1)Improvements to data and stock assessments are needed so that scientific advice can inform management strategies to achieve maximum sustained yield.
2)Increased fishery selectivity through gear adaptations or temporal and spatial restrictions, as well as development of more consistent markets may be the most effective strategies to reduce discard mortality in the Western English Channel (Catchpole et al. 2013). Reducing discard mortality will also be beneficial in terms of allowing more fish to achieve larger size (Seafish 2014a).
3)Further measures to identify and minimize impacts of the fishery on vulnerable PET species and ecologically important benthic habitats should be promoted.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

< 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

≥ 6

Future Health:

≥ 6


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS

1. Start a fishery improvement project to address sustainability issues in this fishery. For advice on starting a FIP, see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs here.
2. Communicate to fishery managers that there are sustainability issues in this fishery that may be affecting the sale of products, and request that they comprehensively evaluate and address such issues.

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN

1. Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. For advice on starting a FIP see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs here.
2. Work with other suppliers and buyers on a pre-competitive basis to start a supplier roundtable to review improvement needs in this and other similar fisheries, catalyze fishery improvement projects, and monitor progress in improvement efforts.


FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
Western English Channel EU United Kingdom Beam trawls
Single boat bottom otter trawls

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 3 January 2015

Strengths

1)There is a minimum size limit enforced for Cornwall fisheries (IFCA 2011), and the European Commission also observes this limit as a “minimum marketing standard” (lemon sole can only be sold if individuals exceed 180gm/25 cm) (Seafish 2014b).
2)Juvenile lemon sole appear to have low vulnerability in the fishery (Seafish 2014a).
3)There has been an overall reduction in beam trawl effort since the establishment of limits and restrictions in the Sole Recovery Zone in 2004 (MMO 2014), and there is evidence that these measures have benefited sole and plaice stocks in the area (Seafish 2014a).
4)There are abundance indicator series comprised of annual catch and survey data, and these data indicate that the stock is resilient to recent harvest levels (ICES 2010; 2013c).
5)There is some evidence of stock structure, suggesting that the Western English Channel stock merits treatment as a unique management unit (Jennings et al. 1993).

Weaknesses

1)Lemon sole fisheries are multi-species, and there are no specific harvest limits for the Western English Channel stock, with the exception of the minimum size limit in Cornwall.
2)There is insufficient stock assessment data to allow estimation of biological reference points or establishment of biologically based harvest control rules (Seafish 2014a).
3)Impacts from discarding of commercially unimportant or undersized catch are significant in the beam and otter trawl harvests off the Southwest UK (Catchpole 2009; EC 2011). Numbers for all species are not regularly accounted for, though juvenile lemon sole are not likely to be significantly impacted (Seafish 2014a). While a variety of technical innovations and regulatory strategies to reduce discards are being explored with some promising results (Catchpole 2013), some of the impending changes being introduced under the new European discard policy are likely to have varying success.The transition from landing quotas to catch quotas may not reduce discards in Western English Channel trawl fisheries, where discarding is primarily market rather than regulation driven (Catchpole et al. 2013).
4)There is potential for destruction of benthic habitat from trawl gears. Though protection measures in various conservation areas are evolving, there is a persistent lack of data on the distribution of sensitive benthic habitats, making it difficult to minimize risk imposed by the fishery (Seafish 2014a).
5)Understanding of the biology and ecology of lemon sole is lacking, particularly with regard to distribution of juveniles and spawning locations (Burt et al. 2013; Seafish 2014b).
6)There are a number of protected and endangered shark and skate species that are encountered in the fishery.Among the more depleted species according to the IUCN, and based on a recent ecological risk assessment (Seafish 2014a; 2014b) the undulate ray (Raja undulata), common skate (Dipturus baits complex), angel shark (Squatina squattina), and white skate (Rostroraja alba) may be at greatest risk in Southwest UK fisheries generally. However catches are limited due to landing restrictions and the relative scarcity of these species.
7)Proportions of larger size fish in the fishery have declined over time, indicating a trend of decreasing stability in the fish community (Seafish 2014a).

Options

1)Improvements to data and stock assessments are needed so that scientific advice can inform management strategies to achieve maximum sustained yield.
2)Increased fishery selectivity through gear adaptations or temporal and spatial restrictions, as well as development of more consistent markets may be the most effective strategies to reduce discard mortality in the Western English Channel (Catchpole et al. 2013). Reducing discard mortality will also be beneficial in terms of allowing more fish to achieve larger size (Seafish 2014a).
3)Further measures to identify and minimize impacts of the fishery on vulnerable PET species and ecologically important benthic habitats should be promoted.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 7 December 2016

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

1. Start a fishery improvement project to address sustainability issues in this fishery. For advice on starting a FIP, see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs here.
2. Communicate to fishery managers that there are sustainability issues in this fishery that may be affecting the sale of products, and request that they comprehensively evaluate and address such issues.

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain

1. Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. For advice on starting a FIP see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs here.
2. Work with other suppliers and buyers on a pre-competitive basis to start a supplier roundtable to review improvement needs in this and other similar fisheries, catalyze fishery improvement projects, and monitor progress in improvement efforts.

1.STOCK STATUS

No related analysis

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

No related analysis

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 21 May 2012

Based on 2011 and 2012 observer data, marine mammal capture in the bottom trawl fisheries of the Western English Channel (ICES Division VIIe) appears generally limited to common dolphin (Delphinis Delphis), primarily in otter trawls (ICES 2013a; ICES 2014). The fishery does encounter a number of IUCN-listed elasmobranch species (ICES 2013b), including but not limited to the “near-threatened” blonde ray (Raja brachyura) (Ellis et al. 2009), thornback ray (Raja clavata) (Ellis 2005), and small-eyed ray (Raja microocellata) (Ellis 2006), the “endangered” undulate ray (Raja undulate) (Coelho et al. 2009), and the “critically endangered” common skate (Dipturus batis complex) (Dulvy et al. 2006a). In addition, there are encounters of spurdog (Squalus acanthius), which is listed as “critically endangered” in the Northeast Atlantic (though only as “vulnerable” globally) (Fordham et al. 2006). Meanwhile, the endangered white skate (Rostroraja alba) (Dulvy et al. 2006b), and critically endangered angel shark (Squatina squatina) (Morey et al. 2006), have been nearly extirpated from ICES division VII (ICES 2013b).

Landings are prohibited or severely limited for a number of the most depleted PET species listed above, as regulated by the European Council and/or advised by ICES (ICES 2013b); and among the rest it appears only a few are landed in VIIe with great regularity (R. brachyura, and R. clavata primarily, followed by R. microocellata) (ICES 2013b). However, while none are major components of the overall bycatch for this fishery (Enever 2007; EC 2012), the mortality rates on individual species by fishery and area are not well documented (Seafish 2014b), and better information is needed in this regard.

FishSource Scores

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is < 6.

Lemon sole are captured in multi-species fisheries, and apart from a minimum size allowance in the Cornwall region (IFCA 2011), there are no specific management objectives for the Western English Channel stock (ICES 2010; 2013c).

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Regular stock assessment is limited to abundance indices from beam trawl surveys (ICES 2010); and there is virtually no formal scientific advice dedicated to the management of the Western English Channel stock. Improvements to data and stock assessment for lemon sole are a priority recommended in a recent Ecological Risk Assessment report for the Southwest England fisheries (Seafish 2014). In spite of the lack of scientific advice, there is no clear evidence that the stock is being overfished presently.

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

There are limited management measures by which to measure compliance; however we are not aware of concerns related to reporting issues or illegal fishing for the Western English Channel fisheries.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

There are no biomass estimates for the stock. Indicators of abundance from various CPUE data present somewhat inconsistent trends, with beam trawl surveys showing abundance climbing from a lower level in the mid 1980’s to peak highs in 2012 and 2013 (ICES 2013c; Readdy 2013). Meanwhile looking at commercial catch effort data, an overall declining trend is seen in beam trawl catch, and variation around a more steady average is observed for otter trawl catch, with both indicators displaying a relative uptick for the most recent available record in 2009 (ICES 2010). Generally, the Western English Channel stock appears to be fluctuating around an at least average level of abundance in the context of the past several decades.

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

There are no estimated biological or target reference points by which to assess current exploitation levels or the future health of the stock; however it appears recent catch levels have been sustainable, albeit quite variable. According to a recent Ecological Risk Assessment (Seafish 2014a), the level of consequence for the fishery on the stock is rated as a ‘3’ on a scale in which a ‘0’ rating reflects no impact and a ‘5’ rating reflects potentially catastrophic impacts on a particular species.

No data available for biomass
No data available for biomass
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for stock status, please view this site on a desktop.
DATA NOTES

There are no biological reference points, fishing mortality or biomass estimates for this stock.  Therefore, all scores are qualitatively rather than quantitatively assigned, with reliance on information from catch and survey abundance indices and ecological risk assessment ratings.

Download Source Data

Registered users can download the original data file for calculating the scores after logging in. If you wish, you can Register now.

Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits
  1. Bendall, V. A., Hetherington, S. J., Ellis, J. R., Smith, S. F., Ives, M. J., Gregson, J. and Riley, A. A. 2012. Spurdog, porbeagle and common skate bycatch and discard reduction. Fisheries Science Partnership 2011–2012, Final Report. 88 pp. http://www.cefas.defra.gov.uk/media/577769/mf047_fsp_report_2012_final_vb2.pdf
  2. Burt G.J., Ellis J.R., Harley B.F. and Kupschus S.. 2013. The FV Carhelmar beam trawl survey of the western English Channel (1989–2011): History of the survey, data availability and the distribution and relative abundance of fish and commercial shellfish. Sci. Ser. Tech. Rep., Cefas Lowestoft, 151: 139pp. http://www.cefas.defra.gov.uk/publications/techrep/SciencetechnicalReportNo151.pdf
  3. Catchpole T., 2009. Effective discard reduction in European fisheries: options for fishers and fisheries managers. WWF, Surrey. http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/discard_reduction.pdf
  4. Catchpole, T., 2013. Advice to Seafish on input to ecological risk assessment of the effects of fishing in the southwest marine ecosystem. Component 5: Discarding in the south west, in SR672 Ecological Risk Assessment of the effects of fishing for South West fisheries; ICES Divisions VII e,f,g & h; Supporting information. ©Seafish, May 2014. http://www.seafish.org/media/publications/SR672ERAEFSupporting_information.pdf
  5. Catchpole, T. L., Feekings, J. P., Madsen, N., Palialexis, A., Vassilopoulou, V., Valeiras, J., Garcia, T., Nikolic, N., and Rochet, M. J., 2013. Using inferred drivers of discarding behaviour to evaluate discard mitigation measures. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fst170http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/10/17/icesjms.fst170.full.pdf
  6. Coelho, R., Bertozzi, M.,Ungaro. N. & Ellis, J. 2009. Raja undulata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/161425/0
  7. Dulvy, N.K., Pasolini, P., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G. Serena, F., Tinti, F., Ungaro, N., Mancusi, C. & Ellis, J.E. 2006. Rostroraja alba. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/61408/0
  8. EC (European Commission), 2011. Impact Assessment of Discard Reducing Policies: EU Discard Annex. In Studies in the Field of the Common Fisheries Policy and Maritime Affairs, Lot 4: Impact Assessment Studies related to the CFP.http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/documentation/studies/discards/annex_en.pdf
  9. Ellis, J. 2005. Raja clavata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/39399/0
  10. Ellis, J. 2006. Raja microocellata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/39400/0
  11. Ellis, J., Ungaro, N., Serena, F., Dulvy, N.K., Tinti, F., Bertozzi, M., Pasolini, P., Mancusi, C. & Noarbartolo di Sciara, G. 2009. Raja brachyura. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/161691/0
  12. Enever, R., Revill, A., Grant, A., 2007. Discarding in the English Xhannel, Western approaches, Celtic and Irish seas (ICES subarea VII). Fisheries Research, 86, pp 143-152. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165783607001191
  13. Fordham, S., Fowler, S.L., Coelho, R., Goldman, K.J. & Francis, M. 2006. Squalus acanthias. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/39326/0
  14. ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea), 2010. Report of the Working Group on Assessment of New MoU Species (WGNEW), 11-15 October 2010, ICES HQ, Denmark (ICES CM 2010/ACOM: 21). 185 pp. http://www.ices.dk/publications/library/Pages/default.aspx#k=wgnew
  15. ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea), 2013a. Report of the Working Group on Bycatch of Protected Species (WGBYC), 4–8 February, Copenhagen, Denmark. ICES CM 2013/ACOM:27. 73 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Expert%20Group%20Report/acom/2013/WGBYC/wgbyc_2013.pdf
  16. ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea), 2013b. Report of the Working Group on Elasmobranch Fishes (WGEF), 17–21 June 2013, Lisbon, Portugal. ICES CM 2013/ACOM:19. 680 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Expert%20Group%20Report/acom/2013/WGEF/wgef_2013.pdf
  17. ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea), 2013c. Report of the Working Group on Assessment of New MoU Species (WGNEW), 18 - 22 March 2013, ICES HQ, Copenhagen, Denmark. ACOM. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Expert%20Group%20Report/acom/2014/WGNEW/WGNEW%20Report_2014.pdf
  18. ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea), 2014. Report of the Working Group on Bycatch of Protected Species (WGBYC), 4–7 February 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark. ICES CM 2014/ACOM:28. 96 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Expert%20Group%20Report/acom/2014/WGBYC/wgbyc_2014.pdf
  19. IFCA (Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Society), 2011. Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority Fact Sheet. [online] http://www.cornwall-ifca.gov.uk/sitedata/Misc/CIFCA_General_Information.pdf
  20. Jennings, S., Hewlett, G.J., Flatman, S. 1993. The distribution, migrations and stock integrity of lemon sole Microstomus kitt in the western English Channel. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries Research 18: 377-388http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0165783693901643
  21. MMO (Marine Management Organisation), 2014. UK Sea Fisheries Annual Statistics 2013. National Statistics Publication, Newport, South Wales. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/358342/UK_Sea_Fisheries_Statistics_2013_online_version.pdf
  22. Morey, G., Serena, F., Mancusi, C., Fowler, S.L., Dipper, F. & Ellis, J. 2006. Squatina squatina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/39332/0
  23. Readdy, L., Bush, R. A., Silva, J. F., and Manser, M., 2013. Programme 24: Western Channel sole and plaice. Fisheries Science Partnership 2013/14. Draft Report. 38 pp. http://www.cefas.defra.gov.uk/media/733914/westernchannelsoleandplaiceprogramme%2024_sw.pdf
  24. Seafish, 2014a.
Ecological Risk Assessment of the effects of fishing for South West fisheries; ICES Divisions VII e,f,g & h.
Seafish Report SR 670.http://www.seafish.org/media/Publications/SR670ERAEFFinal_report1.pdf
  25. Seafish, 2014b. Species Guide: lemon sole. Seafish Responsible Sourcing Guides Series. http://www.seafish.org/media/publications/SeafishSpeciesGuide_Lemon_sole_201401.pdf
References

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    Lemon sole - Western English Channel

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