Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa)
Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa)


Plaice is a typical right eyed flatfish. The upper side is basically brown or dark green with conspicuous orange spots, whilst the underside is white. Another distinctive feature is a line of bony knobs that run between the eyes and the gill openings.


Plaice are common all-around Britain. They live mainly in the 10-50m depth range, on sandy or muddy bottoms, where they will bury themselves into the sediment for long periods.


The main spawning grounds extend from the eastern end of the English Channel, around the Thames Estuary and up into the North Sea. Plaice spawn in January to March  laying their eggs in fairly shallow water. The float near the surface and hatch in 2-3 weeks. After 4-6weeks the larval fish change to flatfish and settle on the seabed when they are about 10-17mm long. The female fish reach maturity between 3-7yrs in age, whilst the males develop slightly younger.


Plaice can live up to 50 years old and can reach over a metre in length. But a large adult of 50-60cm and about 30yrs is more likely due to the fishing activity of trawlers.


Plaice live on bottom dwelling animals like shellfish such as cockles. Younger fish will eat mainly shrimp.