Known by many names which are essentially all members of the flatfish family. Some include: English Sole, Black Sole, Flounder, Halibut, Lemon Sole, Fluke, Sand Dab and others. It can refer to any of these members of the flatfish family that can swim on one side since both eyes are located on the side that faces up. Colours and sizes vary widely in the family but the downward facing side is always pale and almost colourless! Since 2010 it has been included in Greenpeace’s International Seafood Red List showing that fishing of Solea Solea is not always guaranteed to be sustainable fishing.
Flatfish or Solea Solea are known to live in subtropical regions on sandy and muddy bottoms which facilitate their intricate and successful camouflage from the shore to up to 200m in depth but more usually found in water around 10m to 60m! Found widely distributed in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean (North Sea and Bay of Biscay) and Mediterranean Sea (including the Sea of Marmara, Bosporus and South-Western Black Sea).
Solea Solea are nocturnal solitary predators feeding mainly on polychaete worms, small soft-shelled bivalves, small fishes and crustaceans.
Solea Solea go through three stages to maturity. Egg, larva and young stages! They live their lives largely solitary. They reproduce from January to April, with two peaks in February (Mediterranean), or December to May (Bay of Biscay), or April to June (North Sea). They become sexually mature at 3-5 years of age when 25 – 35cm in length. The males are somewhat smaller than the females. If left in peace in favorable conditions they have been known to reach a size or 60 – 70cm and weigh over 3kg! The maximum reported age is 26 years. The Wadden Sea is considered an important spawning ground! The fact that it takes Solea Solea so long to mature and its huge lifespan are what make this beautiful fish vulnerable to fishing pressures!
Dive Site Encounters
Common Sole – Solea Solea Distribution Map
(Chance of Encounter Red > 0.8 Yellow > 0.2)