About the Species
American plaice is a species of flounder that is found in relatively deep water from southern Labrador on the eastern coast of Canada to Rhode Island.
According to the 2019 operational assessment, American plaice is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. The stock is considered to have been rebuilt.
- American plaice is a right-eyed species of flounder.
- Plaice have a large mouth, rounded tail, and nearly straight lateral line running lengthwise along their body.
- The upper side (eyed side) of adult plaice is typically reddish-brown in color, while the underside is white.
- American plaice can live for more than 20 years.
- Plaice spawn and fertilize their eggs near the ocean bottom.
- Fertilized eggs float and ultimately hatch near the ocean’s surface.
- When plaice first hatch, their eyes are symmetrical, with an eye on each side of their head. As the fish grows, it flattens out and the left eye moves over to the right side of its head. After this metamorphosis, the juvenile settles to the ocean bottom.
- Larval plaice mostly eat plankton and adults primarily feed on bottom-dwelling invertebrates, such as brittle stars, sand dollars, polychaete worms, shrimps, and bivalve mollusks.
Where They Live
- American plaice are distributed along the continental shelves from southern Labrador to Rhode Island in relatively deep water.
- In the Northwest Atlantic, plaice are found along the Atlantic Coast of North America throughout the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank.
- We manage a single stock of American plaice in U.S. waters.
- NOAA Fisheries and the New England Fishery Management Council manage the fishery.
- Plaice, along with other groundfish in New England waters, is managed under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, which includes:
- Permitting requirements for commercial vessels.
- Separate management measures for recreational vessels.
- Time/Area closures to protect spawning fish and habitat.
- Minimum fish sizes to prevent harvest of juvenile fish.
- Annual catch limits, based on best available science.
- An optional sector (catch share) program can be used for cod and other groundfish species. The sector program allows fishermen to form harvesting cooperatives and work together to decide when, where, and how they harvest fish.
Recreational Fishing Regulations
Commercial Fishing Regulations
Subsistence Fishing Regulations
American plaice is managed under the Northeast Multispecies (Groundfish) Fishery Management Plan along with 12 other species of groundfish. Collectively, these 13 species are referred to as the Northeast multispecies complex.