Yellowfin Sole

Yellowfin sole

About The Species

U.S. wild-caught yellowfin sole is a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations.

Population Level

Above target population levels.

Fishing Status

At recommended levels.

Habitat Impact

Area closures and gear restrictions protect habitats affected by bottom trawls used to harvest yellowfin sole.


Regulations are in place to minimize bycatch.


  • According to the 2015 stock assessment, yellowfin sole in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands are not overfished and are not subject to overfishing.
  • In the Gulf of Alaska, yellowfin sole are part of the “shallow water flatfish complex.” According to the 2015 stock assessment, this complex is not overfished and is not subject to overfishing.
  • Yellowfin sole are a flatfish with a small mouth and moderately large eyes that are both on one side of their body.
  • Their body shape is generally round with rounded edges on the tail fin.
  • Their upper side is olive to dark brown with dark mottling, and their underside is pale. 
  • Yellowfin sole are named for their yellowish fins. Their fins also have faint dark bars and a narrow dark line at their base.
  • Their anal spine is thin, sharp, and exposed. 
  • They have rough scales on both sides of the body.
Behavior and Diet
  • Yellowfin sole grow up to more than 1½ feet long and can live up to 39 years.
  • Most females are able to reproduce when they reach 10½ years old, or when they’re about 1 foot long.
  • They spawn in the spring and summer in shallow waters on the inner continental shelf. Females produce between 1 and 3 million eggs.
  • Larvae and early juveniles eat plankton and algae. Late juveniles and adults eat bivalves, worms, amphipods, mollusks, krill, shrimp, brittle stars, sculpins, and other crustaceans. 
  • Pacific cod and halibut prey on juvenile yellowfin sole. 
Location Description

In the United States, yellowfin sole are found in the North Pacific Ocean from British Columbia up to the Chukchi Sea (north of the Bering Sea).