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Sand Sole

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Sand Sole


A species of flatfish that is occasionally landed by Cornish trawlers and netters. It is very similar in appearance to a Dover sole but the sand sole is often cheaper and tastes just as good.

Sustainability Overview

This species is not well studied but there is no information to suggest that stocks are being over exploited. The best option is to choose day boat trawled or net caught sand sole. 

5 tonnes of sand sole were landed to Cornish ports in 2021 with a value of £17k (MMO data).

Updated July 2023

Sustainability ratings for this species

Demersal Trawl


Demersal trawls are large nets that are pulled through the water with the bottom edge of the net touching the seabed. At each edge the net is pulled open by metal ‘trawl doors’. Sometimes referred to as Otter trawling.

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Gill Netting


Gill nets are lightweight nets made of nylon (monofilament) fishing line that are anchored to the seabed and are used to catch fish by entangling the gills.

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Beam Trawling


Beam trawls are nets attached to a steel beam that holds the net open. The belly of the net is made of chains and the upper surface of the net is mesh. Beam trawlers pull two nets along the seabed simultaneously.

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How we rate fish

Cornwall Good Seafood Guide rates fish on sustainability using a scale of 1 to 5.

1, 2 and 3 are recommended, Fish to avoid are rated 5.

We use the system devised by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) so our scores are comparable with the scores produced by MCS for the UK and fisheries from all around the world. For more information on scoring click here.


A close relative of the dover sole the sand sole is paler in colour and doesn’t grow as large getting to a maximum of 40cm in length. It can be told apart from a Dover sole by the fact it is paler and lacks the Dover soles distinctive tiny tentacles fringing its head, if you look on the underside of a sand sole it has a distinctive rosette like nostril nearly the size of its eye. 
It is relatively quick growing and has a lower vulnerability to fishing than dover sole (sand sole vulnerability 29% Fishbase (lower than Dover sole which is 36%).

Stock Info

Between four and ten tonnes of sand sole are landed to Cornish ports each year (source MMO landings data). This is an under utilised species that has not been well studied in terms of stocks in our area. There is no reason to think that this species is being over exploited at this time.



There is no quota for this species. It is benefiting indirectly from measures to protect other species such as the Trevose closure which protects spawning sand sole and many other species and the effort restrictions brought in during the sole recovery plan.  There is no minimum landing size for sand sole.

Capture Info

Sand Sole are caught in gill nets, demersal trawls and beam trawls. 


Fisbase profile of Sand Sole 

MMO landings data


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