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. Bycatch Regulations are in place to minimize bycatch. Status 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. Appearance 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). Management NOAA Fisheries and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council manage the yellowfin sole fishery. Managed under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands: Permits are required, and the number of available permits is limited to control the amount of fishing. Managers set an annual catch limit for yellowfin sole. A percentage of the catch limit is allocated to the community development quota program, which benefits fishery-dependent communities in Western Alaska. The rest is allocated among the various fishing sectors based on gear type, vessel size, and ability to process their catch. All yellowfin sole caught must be retained for processing. Catch is monitored through record keeping, reporting requirements, and observer coverage. Managed under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska: Yellowfin sole is included under this fishery management plan, but only a very small amount is incidentally caught in this area.