ROCK SOLE (Lepidopsetta bilineata) Harvested from January through April, the U.S. accounts for the majority of the worldwide harvest of rock sole.
Two species of rock sole were distinguished in Alaska in 2000. Northern rock sole (L. polyxystra) is more common in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI), while southern rock sole (Lepidopsetta bilineata) occurs from the southeast Bering Sea to Baja California. The two species overlap from the far eastern Aleutian Islands and extreme southeastern Bering Sea to Puget Sound.
Both rock sole species occur in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) and are managed as part of the shallow-water flatfish group in the Groundfish of the GOA FMP by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC). The southern species of rock sole is included in the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP. The species is only caught incidentally in other fisheries and is managed as part of the “Other Flatfish” complex.
The biomass of rock sole in the Bering Sea-Aleutian Islands area is very high, at twice the biomass needed to support maximum sustainable yield. This abundance is largely due to the severe constraints imposed by halibut bycatch limits. In general, rock sole are harvested lightly to moderately.