More information

European flounder

Quality mark Cultivation
/Keurmerk Wild
Second choice
Informatie over vissoort
Lees meer


Flatfish belong to the order Pleuronectoformes. There are more than 500 species of flatfish. Flatfish live on and partly in the seabed, only the halibut swims higher up in the water column. Flatfish have an oblong, flat shape and their eyes on one side. The upper-side, the eye-side, of the flatfish has a camouflage colour and the underside is white. It may seem like flatfish swim on their belly, however, in fact, they are laying on their side. Flatfish larvae have a regular fish shape, with eyes on each side and a vertical swimming mode. After 6 weeks, one of the eyes migrates upwards, over the head to the other side. From now own, the flatfish swims with their eyes up and their blind side facing the seabed.

The best known flatfish species in the Netherlands are sole and plaice. Other flatfish species that occur in the North Sea are the common dab, halibut, turbot, brill, European flounder and lemon sole. Flatfish are caught with beam trawls, pulse trawls or demersal otter trawls.


European flounder

European flounder is a flatfish species that can be found in European coastal waters , mainly in the south-eastern part of the North Sea, the Black Sea and Kattegat. This species can also survive in brackish and freshwaters, like rivers and large inland lakes. The European flounder is dull brown, green or grey in colour with sometimes orange spots. Although this species looks a lot like plaice, the orange spots are often less vibrant. The European flounder can reach lengths of up to 50 cm long.


European flounder

Platichthys flesus

Atlantic Ocean, northeast (FAO 27)
Deelgebieden: Skagerrak, Kattegat, Sound, Belt, Baltic Sea

Farming- / Catch method

Demersal otter trawl, Beam trawl, Electric pulse fishing, Gillnets

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Fish stocks and fishing pressure
Ecosystem effects
Fishery management
Final assessment
Explanation assessment

European flounder is often landed as bycatchBycatch:
Species caught next to species targeted for fishery. By-catches can consist of non-commercial species and species that are too small, and can be kept (this part is sometimes called by-product) or thrown back into the sea (discards). 
in the mixed flatfish fisheries. The fishing pressureFishing pressure:
Fishing pressure is a result of the fishing effort/amount of fishing on a stock, which determines the fishing mortality. Fishing mortality is the share of the fish stock that dies annually as a result of fishing.
is unknown, but does not seem to have a negative impact on the stockStock:
The fish of a particular species reproducing in the same area in the same period. 
. The stock seems to be stable and is even potentially increasing.

All mentioned catch methods have a negative impact on the ecosystem. Furthermore, the methods have been known to have a negative impact on several, sometimes threatened, species, such as harbour porpoises and varying species of seabirds. The overall percentage of discardsDiscards:
Unwanted by-catch, which is thrown back because there is no quota, the market price is too low, or the fish is below the legal minimum landing size. Discards can be alive or dead.
is relatively high in these fisheries. However, the exact percentage of discards and bycatchBycatch:
Species caught next to species targeted for fishery. By-catches can consist of non-commercial species and species that are too small, and can be kept (this part is sometimes called by-product) or thrown back into the sea (discards). 
is unknown.

There is no specific managementManagement:
The regulations surrounding fisheries and aquaculture that ensure that production is carried out within legal frameworks and that sustainability can be assured.
for the European flounder. The overall management, set up by the European Common Fisheries Policy, is only partially effective.

Fish in season 

Fish is in season when the spawning period has ended, as the quality is then at its best.

ASC label

Fish with the ASC label is farmed in a sustainable manner.

MSC label

Fish with the MSC label is caught sustainably.

Good fish

This fish is not being overfished or is being responsibly farmed, with minimal impact on the environment.

Second choice

This fish is a second choice. There are still some improvements to be made in this fishery or fish farm.


Do not buy this fish. It's being overfished or the way it's farmed or caught has a negative impact on the environment.


There is fish available of this species that is farmed or caught using high welfare standards.


GlobalG.A.P. certified farms are doing a step in the right direction in terms of sustainability. A few species with this label are getting a better score on the VISwijzer.


Organic standards are the strictest when it comes to fish feed. They also require certain measures for animal well-being.