SUCCESS Strategic Use of Competitiveness towards Consolidating the Economic Sustainability of the european Seafood sector
SUCCESSStrategic Use of Competitiveness towards Consolidating the Economic Sustainability of the european Seafood sector 


Context and characteristics

Fleet characteristics

Flatfish is a general term for several marine fish species. Sole and plaice are the most important species, but turbot, brill, dab, lemon sole, Greenland halibut, megrim and flounder are also of importance.

 In the EU, most flatfish are caught by fleets from the Netherlands, the United King-dom, Denmark, Germany, France and Belgium. Flatfish are mainly caught by active bottom trawls with numerous others species, constituting a “mixed fishery”.

Aquaculture is not very common in Europe, but some flat fish farms exist, mainly in Spain.


Flatfish is mostly sold frozen, but also fresh (niche markets). Two lines of product presentation can be distinguished: whole fish (mainly sole and plaice) and processed seafood products like ready to cook/fillets.

Flatfish is mostly consumed in southern countries like Italy, Spain and France, and also in Germany.

The price are very different between the species, from 1€/kg for plaice to 12€/kg for sole and turbot.

The European flatfish products are in competition with foreign flatfish but also with white fish species on the same market.



Flatfish fisheries' challenges

The European flatfish sector faces several challenges influencing the competitiveness of the sector :

  1. High production cost due to the fishing technique (active trawling leading high fuel cost)
  2. the prices within species fluctuate considerably due to seasonality and competition with white fish
  3. Flatfish are in a mixed fisheries and bycatch rate is high. The landing obligation would have an important impact on labour costs and quotas.
  4. Funding to invest in innovation
  5. Quota availability and management
  6. Respond to the growing demand for high quality, safe and more sustainably caught or cultured fish
  7. Competition for space and use-conflict with others activities
  8. Innovation to increase the value, developing new market and face the competition with whitefish



SUCCESS project's work

SUCCESS' objectives

Given this challenges list, the SUCCESS project will try to answer to the following broad questions by their implications within workpackages (WP) :

  • Which potential does EU fisheries and aquaculture have to compete on the world flatfish market?
  • How can competitiveness be further improved?
  • What is the effect of the potential improvements on employment in the flatfish value chain?
  • Are the current initiatives sufficient to tackle the flatfish case study challenges?
  • Witch innovations could deal with the flatfish case study challenges and how far can existing innovations from one part of Europe be of influence to other parts of Europe?

More details in ...

Flatfish CS presentation
Flatfish case studie description.pdf
Document Adobe Acrobat [315.5 KB]

Partners involved

More on "flatfish" case study

  • The “flatfish” case study in the workpackages (coming soon)
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SUCCESS is a H2020 Research and Innovation Project (2015-2018)

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“This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 635188”