Significance to humans

Flatfishes are an important group of food fishes. Medium-size and large species of most families are consumed wherever they are captured, and in some regions even the smallest flatfishes also are sold as food for people. In such regions as the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans and also in Southern Hemisphere regions, such as Australia, New Zealand, and South America, flatfish populations are sufficiently large to constitute major fishery resources. Some of the smaller flatfishes, especially those taken as by-catch in shrimp trawl fisheries (tonguefishes, soleids, achirids, both-ids, and paralichthyids), are considered to be a nuisance by fishermen because they so firmly entangle themselves in the nets that they cannot easily be shaken out. Clearing the nets after heavy catches of these flatfishes, especially tonguefishes, soleids, and achirids, requires manually extracting fishes from the nets, a time-consuming task.

1. Peacock flounder {Bothus lunatus); 2. Hogchoker {Trinectes maculatus); S. Windowpane flounder {Scophthalmus aquosus); 4. Summer flounder {Paralichthys dentatus); 5. Common sole {Solea solea); 6. Winter flounder {Pseudopleuronectes americanus); 7. Pacific sanddab {Citharichthys sordidus); B. Plaice {Pleuronectes platessa); 9. Pacific halibut {Hippoglossus stenolepis); 10. California tonguefish {Symphurus atricaudus). {Illustration by Wendy Baker)

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