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Turbot

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Green
Second choice
Avoid
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General

Flatfish

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.

 

Turbot

Turbot is a large diamond-shaped flatfish that occurs from Norway to Morocco and in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Turbot belongs to the larger flatfish species: this fish can grow to a length of 100 cm and weigh 25 kg. Their eyes, similar to brill and megrim, are on the dark green colored left side of the body. On that side they have no scales, but they do have bony nodules. The difference with brill is clear, because brill has a smooth skin with scales.

Turbot

Scophthalmus maximus/Psetta maxim
Origin

Europe, inland waters

Farming- / Catch method

Recirculation system (aquaculture)

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Explanation assessment

Turbot is a flatfish that can reach up to 1 meter and can get 25-30 kg with an age of 25 years. Turbot is more and more farmed, that is, grown under controlled conditions.

Recirculation systems means that the water used in the farm is pumped around multiple times and is filtered with biofilters. Water usage is minimised in this way and is a more sustainable way of aquaculture. The water is kept at an optimum for good growth by sampling the water regularly and the monitoring of several parameters.

The ecological effects of the farms score well for turbot, but the feed uses much fish oil and fish meal. Next to that they can make a step towards more sustainability by only using sustainable ingredients for the feed. This is not the standard yet.

 

Turbot

Scophthalmus maximus/Psetta maxim
Origin

Atlantic Ocean, northeast (FAO 27)

Farming- / Catch method

Electric pulse fishing, Gillnets

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Fish stocks and fishing pressure
Ecosystem effects
Fishery management
Final assessment
Explanation assessment

Turbot is mainly bycatch in the plaice and sole fishery. Research on turbot has been done in 2017. This showed that the stock is above reference points and the fishing pressure below the reference points.

The gillnet fishery is a selective fishing method, but there is too little known about the quantity of bycatch of other species and young fish. The fishery has a very limited impact on the seabed. A problem with this fishery is that there are incidental bycatches of species like dolphins, porpoises and sea birds. These are often vulnerable, protected and endangered species.

There is no specific stock management for turbot, but there is a joined TAC for turbot and brill. This is however not based on scientific advice and not effective in regulating the fishing pressure. There is no official minimum landing size for turbot, but Dutch producer organisations have voluntarily a landing size of 25-30 cm.

 

Turbot

Scophthalmus maximus/Psetta maxim
Origin

Atlantic Ocean, northeast (FAO 27)

Farming- / Catch method

Beam trawl

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Fish stocks and fishing pressure
Ecosystem effects
Fishery management
Final assessment
Explanation assessment

Research on turbot has been done in 2017. This showed that the stock is above reference points and the fishing pressure below the reference points.

Most turbot is caught as bycatch in the beam trawl fishery on sole and plaice. More than half is discarded and has a low survivability. Fishing with beam trawls touch the bottom and there is direct disruption of the bottom life. Intensive fishing with the beam trawl leads on the long-term to changes in species composition in the sea.

There is no specific stock management for turbot, but there is a joined TAC for turbot and brill. This is however not based on scientific advice and not effective in regulating the fishing pressure. There is no official minimum landing size for turbot, but Dutch producer organisations have voluntarily a landing size of 25-30 cm.

 

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.

Avoid

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

Welfare

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

GlobalG.A.P.

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

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