RASS Records

Turbot in the Celtic Sea, Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coast, Demersal otter trawl

map-server works!

Content Last Updated
16 February 2016

Turbot, Psetta maximus is a large, fast growing flatfish distributed from Iceland in the Northeast Atlantic to the Mediterranean and Adriatic in the south. It occurs at relatively low abundance throughout its distributional range. Spawning occurs offshore whilst the nursery grounds are found close inshore along sandy beaches, and the fish move offshore as they grow. The maximum depth at which turbot are found is around 100m. Turbot are considered to be relatively sedentary species, but there are reports of migratory behaviour. Turbot is close to the northern limit of its range in north European waters.


A population genetic study of turbot structure is still ongoing but there are indications of distinct turbot populations in the Baltic and Irish Sea.


The Northern Atlantic stock, which includes the North Sea, the southern coast of Iceland, the western coast of Scotland and Ireland, to the Celtic Sea (including the Western Approaches - 51°N, 10°W) is different from the stock originating from the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic side of southern Europe, the southern stock.


Transition zones between the northern and southern stocks are found in the English Channel and between the northern stock and the Baltic Sea in the Kattegat and the Belt Sea.


Turbot is caught together with another large flatfish such as brill (Scophthalmus rhombus) with the English Channel (VIId,e) and the Celtic Sea (VIIf and VIIg-k) providing the second and third most important fishing grounds for this species. However, these fishing ground are by far much less important than the North Sea providing only mean landings of around 8% and 7% respectively of all North East Atlantic turbot landings over the entire time-series, Landings from other areas are negligible.


Turbot in divisions VIIe, f, h, j and sub areas VIII and IXa remain data-limited stocks with no TAC or advised ICES catch.



ICES. 2012. Report of the Working Group on Assessment of New MoU Species (WGNEW), 5 - 9 March 2012, . ICES CM 2012/ACOM:20. 258 pp.

Turbot in Division VIIe, f, j, h and sub area VIII and IXa has been scored as high risk. This is because turbot has a medium vulnerability score and the population trend is unknown due to the limited information available.

The management of Turbot in Division VIIe, f, h, j and sub area VIII and IXa has been scored a high risk. This is because there are no management decisions or assessments of stock status for turbot, there is only minimal data being collected and there are no specific management measures in place to restrict harvesting. However, there are management measures in place to control effort in the fisheries.

The bycatch risk of this fishery is scored as high risk. This is because otter trawls have the potential to take relatively high quantities of bycatch of non-target and vulnerable species (> 30% of catch weight), including demersal elasmobranchs and protected, endangered and threatened (e.g. sharks and rays) species in certain circumstances. However, the incoming EU landings obligation is intended to reduce discarding.

The habitat risk of this fishery is scored as a moderate risk. This is because, although otter trawls are considered to have a potential to cause significant habitat damage, damage to vulnerable and sensitive marine habitats is likely to be minimised given that the footprint of the fishery is within core areas, typically historically fished ground.


Spatial management to reduce potential interactions with vulnerable habitats are being developed, but there remains uncertainties about the location of some sensitive seabed habitats and therefore some risk of further impact.

TypeCurrent Risk StatusOutlookReason
StockHigh Unknown The status of the stock and reference point for long-term sustainability and fishing mortality is unknown. Vulnerability has been scored as moderate and temporal trends in spawning stock biomass remain unclear.
ManagementHigh Stable The management of the stock is likely to remain stable in the future. The EU Common Fisheries Policy is going through reform and there is some uncertainty on how this will impact fisheries management in this area.
BycatchHigh Improving Bycatch of non-target species in this fishery is relatively high with poor selectivity. However, with technical and spatial management measures continuously under development and the incoming EU landings obligation intended to reduce discarding of target species, the bycatch risk is likely to reduce in the future.
HabitatModerate Improving Otter trawls disturb seabed habitats, but a range of Marine Protected Areas have been established and are under development to help minimise damage to vulnerable marine habitats.

Nutrition information from 100g raw product

Rich in:
Vitamin B12
Good Source Of:
Vitamin B6
95 (kcal)
2.7 (g)
0.7 (g)
0 (g)
0.17 (g)