The distribution, migrations and stock integrity of lemon sole Microstomus kitt in the western English Channel.

Pay-walled Peer Reviewed Publication 1993

Fisheries Research

Landings of lemon sole, Microstomus kitt (Walbaum), per hour of otter trawling in the southern North Sea, English Channel, Western Approaches and Celtic Sea in 1990, suggest that areas where this species is relatively abundant in the western English Channel have not changed significantly since the 1950s. Adult lemon sole were tagged in the western English Channel during April and May 1970 and, by 1974, 47% of the 1098 fish which were released had been recaptured. There was no indication of an extensive or regular migration of lemon sole, in contrast to plaice tagged at the same site on the same cruises or at a similar phase of their life history, which were frequently recaptured from sites in the eastern English Channel and North Sea. No juvenile lemon sole less than 18 cm total length (TL) were caught during fine-mesh beam trawl surveys conducted in the western English Channel from 1984 to 1991. A review of data from other young fish surveys indicates that lemon sole less than 15-TL were rarely caught, and suggests that they inhabit rocky areas from 50–100 m deep where they are not accessible to contemporary sampling methods. It is concluded that the stock of adult lemon sole distributed in the extreme western English Channel has sufficient temporal and spatial integrity to be considered as a single management unit.

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