American Plaice (Newfoundland and Labrador Population)

Hippoglossoides platessoides

SARA Status
No Status
NS
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

SARA Status

  • No Status NS
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX
COSEWIC Status
Not at Risk
NR
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

COSEWIC Status

  • Not at Risk NR
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX

Description

American Plaice

American Plaice

American Plaice is a flat fish with a rounded tail fin. When a young plaice hatches, it has a normal fish shape. As it develops and settles to the bottom of the ocean, one side of its body becomes flat and its left eye migrates to the right side. This flattened body allows the plaice to lie flat on the ocean floor and swim on its side. The underside of the fish is white and the upper side (which now has both eyes) is coloured reddish-brown so that the plaice can camouflage itself in the sediment. The mouth is large, and the jawbone extends below the mouth. A relatively slow-growing fish, adult plaice can grow upwards of 60 cm in length.

Habitat

The Newfoundland and Labrador population of American Plaice occurs in the waters immediately south of Hudson Strait southeast to the Grand Banks (east of Newfoundland), and west to Cape Ray (southwestern tip of Newfoundland) (Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Areas 2GHJ3K, 3LNO, and 3Ps3Pn).

American Plaice eggs and larvae drift in the open water for the first few weeks of life. As they grow, plaice settle to the ocean floor. Both juveniles and adults prefer areas with sediment suitable for burrowing. Burrowing allows plaice to hide from predators and ambush prey, making sediment type a significant factor in habitat selection. American Plaice are typically found at depths ranging from 100 to 300 metres, and preferred water temperatures are between -0.5ºC and 2.5ºC in the Newfoundland and Labrador area.

Threats

According to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), the primary factor thought to be responsible for the decline of American Plaice stocks is overfishing, although increased natural mortality due to unusually cold water conditions may also have played a role. COSEWIC indicates that by-catch in fisheries directing for other species is also a threat.

Further Information

Text Sources: COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the American Plaice, Hippoglossoides platessoides, in Canada (2009).

Visit the Species at Risk (SARA) Public Registry.

American Plaice (Newfoundland and Labrador Population)

American Plaice

Scientific name: Hippoglossoides platessoides
SARA Status: No Status
COSEWIC Status: Threatened 2009
Region: Newfoundland and Labrador

American plaice cod distribution for the Newfoundland population

A map depicting the range of the Newfoundland and Labrador Designatable Unit of American Plaice.

Did You Know?

The number of eggs produced by an individual female plaice depends on body size. A 30 cm female can produce as many as 400,000 eggs, while a 60 cm female can produce more than one million eggs.

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