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Fish #211 Common Sole Solea solea ~ Marcelle Seabourne
Collaged monoprint 28 cm x 35 cm
"It should be one's sole endeavour to see everything afresh and create it anew." Gustav Mahler
Solea Solea - the Common Sole, also known as Dover Sole or Black Sole is a right-eyed oval-shaped flatfish with a small tail and long, thin fins. The upper side is mottled greyish or brown and the underside is white. Adults grow up to 60cm (3 feet) and weigh up to 3 kilogrammes (7 pounds). UK shore caught sole typically weigh between 500 grammes and 1 kilogramme, though the UK shore caught record is 3 kilogrammes (6 pounds 8 ounces).
Just like other flatfish, the common sole looks very like a normal round fish when it hatches, with one eye on each side of the body. By the time it reaches about 1 centimetre in length, the right eye will have migrated to the other side of its head as it transforms into a flatfish. This gives the sole the possibility of lurking half-buried on the sea floor, waiting out of sight for passing prey.
With their meaty, mild flesh, sole are highly prized for their culinary versatility and are therefore of great value for the fishing industry. According to britishseafishing.co.uk, they are relatively easy for commercial trawlers to catch, as they tend to huddle together in deep water. The ICES (International Council of the Exploration of the Sea) states that sole are being fished outside of safe biological limits, which is why these fish are on Greenpeace's red list. This means they are one of the species sold in supermarkets around the world that are highly likely to have been fished from unsustainable sources. In the Irish Sea and English Channel stocks have been massively depleted. A slow recovery appears to be taking place, but the advice is still not to eat sole taken from these areas, so stocks can continue to increase. Sole caught by beam trawling, or even worse pulse trawling, which uses electricity to flush flatfish or shrimp out of the sediments in which they hide, should also be avoided, as these methods wreak havoc on the marine environment. Releasing any sole caught during April, May and June will also help replenish stocks, as this is their breeding season.
I made this picture by creating a monoprint background, onto which I stuck fish shapes printed on Chinese rice paper.
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