Dover Sole


The⁤ Dover ‍Sole, also known as the Solea solea, ​is a species ‌of flatfish belonging​ to the Soleidae family. They are demersal ‍fish, ‍preferring to stay close to the seafloor, and are named after the town of Dover⁣ in England, UK‌ where the species was⁤ primarily⁤ landed.

Conservation Status

The Dover Sole is classified as ‘Least⁣ Concern’ on the​ IUCN Red List due to its wide distribution and stable population. Conservation efforts attracting attention include‌ the establishment of‌ marine‌ protected areas where fishing activities ‌are restricted,‌ as ​well ‌as sustainable fishing practices to minimise impact on⁣ the‌ species.


Length ​(Average) 24-30 inches
Length (Range) 12-36 inches
Weight (Average) 3-6 pounds
Weight (Range) 1-10‍ pounds
Average Lifespan 25 years


The Dover Sole is distributed in coastal regions​ of the North Atlantic and Mediterranean, with populations seen from the British Isles to Morocco and Senegal. Seasonal migrations⁣ are thought to⁣ occur, with Dover‌ Sole moving offshore​ to⁣ spawn during winter.


As bottom-dwelling species, Dover Sole inhabit sandy or muddy⁤ areas, often near rocky reefs and seagrass beds. They are‌ found at ⁣a depth range⁢ of ‌10–60 metres, and prefer cool temperatures of 7–13⁣ degree Celsius.

When and Where to See

During spring and ⁢summer, they usually are closer to the shore. ‍The best fishing times are at​ dawn and dusk.

Best⁣ Fishing Locations

Common regions for Dover Sole fishing include:

  1. Dover​ Coast, UK
  2. Bay of Biscay, France
  3. Gulf of Lion, France
  4. Celtic ⁣Sea, Ireland
  5. North Sea, Denmark
  6. Norwegian ⁢Sea, Norway
  7. Algarve ​region, Portugal
  8. Catalonia region, Spain
  9. North Aegean Sea, Greece
  10. Black Sea,‌ Turkey

How to ​Catch

Preferred‌ baits are mackerel strips, sandeel, and ⁣lugworms. Bottom fishing techniques, ‍in‍ which the bait is dropped‌ to the seabed, work best for Dover⁣ Sole. The best ‍fishing period is during ‍the warmer ⁣months of April through October.

Identification Guide

The Dover Sole is characterised by‍ its elongated, oval body⁤ with a small head and a⁢ small,‍ terminal mouth. It ‌is ⁣generally dark brown to grey on the dorsal side and white on ⁤the ventral side.


Dover Sole ⁤is a prized dish ‌in Europe, known for its delicate, ⁣sweet flavor and firm,‌ flaky texture.⁢ It is typically served⁤ grilled or pan-seared. The fish is ⁣also a‌ good‍ source of protein, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Additional Information

Dover Sole feed mostly on crustaceans, small fish, and marine‍ worms. While the species faces​ threats ⁤from commercial fishing, ‌it has‍ no⁤ specific, large-scale ⁤natural predators. The fish holds cultural importance in coastal Europe, especially in the UK, where it‌ is a traditional dish.

References and Further Reading

  • The IUCN Red List of ⁣Threatened Species
  • FishBase
  • SeafoodSource