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North Sea Warming Seen Hurting Plaice and Aiding Sole in Study

September 04, 2012

Warming of the North Sea is driving out plaice, one of the main commercial fish species in the region, while improving conditions for sole, research by the Netherlands’ Wageningen University showed.

Researchers at its Imares marine-science unit linked fish physiology with environmental data to create habitat maps that can be used to predict how changes affect populations of plaice and sole, the university wrote in a statement on its website today. They worked with the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, according to Wageningen.

“The maps show that the rising temperature of the sea water can improve the growth of sole,” the university wrote. “Young plaice, however, fare less well in warmer sea water.”

The sea’s southern coasts are warming, which may explain why juvenile plaice are migrating away from those areas, according to the university. Sole is a more southern species and has greater resilience to temperature increases, it said.

The research team will now study North Sea herring and whiting, the university wrote.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at

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