They are widespread in New Zealand waters, particularly in the south, from near the shore to 100 metres depth.
Grey to greenish-brown on the upper side with faint, slightly darker marbling. The underside is white. The body is oval in shape with the widest part well forward of the centre. The head is small, and the eyes are close together on the edge of a slightly protruding snout. There are distinct, rough scales. The dorsal fin begins above the eye.
Sole belong to the Pleuronectidae family (righteye flounders).
Sole spawn from July to September, usually in shallow bays where they congregate, and the young fish settle to the bottom. Adults reach full size in about five years.
Flatfish were introduced to the QMS in 1986 as a group, rather than individual species (species-specific catch reporting is now encouraged). The annual catch limit for flatfish has varied from 5,409 to 6,670 tonnes since 1986. Stock abundance of flatfish can vary markedly in response to environmental variation. Accordingly, catch limits may be changed frequently to respond to these fluctuations.
Sole are caught throughout the year around the South Island but particularly in Tasman Bay, Pegasus Bay, and off the Otago and Southland coasts, mainly in trawls.