Plaice

Pleuronectes platessa

Plaice are a species of flatfish which we may all be familiar with from fish and chip shops. It is one of the many commercial species of fish which rely on seagrass beds when they are young. With their series of orange spots, Plaice are distinctive once spotted, but spotting them can be tricky due to their amazing ability to appear lighter or darker depending on their habitat. This camouflage trick is common amongst the flatfish and, when coupled with their shuffling under the sand, makes them masters of disguise.

Flatfish fisheries target these animals with seabed fishing equipment, known as demersal (just above), or benthic (on or in the seabed) fishing. We can all help limit the damage caused by fishing by purchasing fish from sustainable sources. Make sure you know where and how your fish has been caught and choose line caught where possible.

Plaice in seagrass. Photo credit Paul Naylor
Plaice in seagrass. Photo credit Paul Naylor

Did you know?

Plaice, along with other flatfish, start their lives swimming upright. Soon though, they sink, landing on their side on the seabed. By growing one side of their head faster than the other, they slowly move the eye in the sand round to join the eye on top.

Where am I?

Found around the coast of the UK, Plaice can be found in shallow waters with a sandy seabed. They can also be found in deeper water.