(U.S. Georges Bank, U.S. Gulf of Maine, Bottom Trawl)
Seafood Watch recommends as "Good Alternatives:"
American plaice; summer and winter flounder caught by bottom trawl; and windowpane flounder from southern New England or the mid-Atlantic.
Seafood Watch recommends to "Avoid:"
Atlantic halibut; witch flounder; yellowtail flounder; winter flounder caught by bottom gillnet; and windowpane flounder from the Gulf of Maine or Georges Bank.
The term flatfish includes many bottom-dwelling fish, including flounder, sole, plaice and halibut. Flatfishes are known as hirame when prepared for sushi.
The term flatfish is used to describe many bottom-dwelling species that include flounder, plaice and halibut. The U.S. Atlantic coast has a number of commercially important flatfish species, and over the last half century their populations have been seriously depleted both by the volume of fishing and accidental bycatch in other fisheries.
In recent years, improvement in management has seen some populations recovering from overfishing. This has resulted in an upgrade from an "Avoid" ranking to a "Good Alternative" for several species, including: American Plaice, winter flounder (caught by trawl gear), and windowpane flounder from southern populations. Be sure to ask where your flatfish is from and how it was caught.
Some species remain on our "Avoid" list, as their populations have not yet recovered. They include Atlantic halibut, a very slow-growing and long-lived fish. Also of concern are the gillnet fisheries catching the endangered harbor porpoise. In fact, all of the fisheries we assessed scored poorly when it came to accidental bycatch, including catching other flatfish from populations that are still recovering from overfishing.