Senegalese Tonguesole

(Cynoglossus senegalensis)

Red sole

1. What is it?

Senegalese tonguesole (Cynoglossus senegalensis) are fast-growing, bottom-dwelling, migratory fish that move inshore to spawn. They occupy a wide depths range from shallow tidal pools to waters on the outer edge of the continental shelf up to 1500 m deep. Currently, the stocks are rated as data deficient as no stock assessments have been conducted for stocks along the west coast of Africa. Although there are indications that stocks were over-exploited and potentially overfished in the past. Senegalese tonguesole are listed as Near Threatened on (IUCN’s) list of threatened species and stocks are currently rated as fully exploited in a few areas in the region.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Senegalese tonguesole is caught using demersal otter trawls which consist of nets that are dragged along the sea bed at different depths. This type of trawling is known to damage the seabed; although the extent and impact of damage remain unknown. Trawling is not a very selective fishing method and a number of other species are often caught in the nets (fish, sharks and rays). There are several endangered species in the area susceptible to trawling and some populations of this species are declining. Discard rates range from high to low based on area. A significant impact on the ecosystem and benthic habitats is likely due to the nature of the gear.

3. Where is it from?

Senegalese tonguesole are found along the coast of West Africa (FAO 34) and imported into South Africa. Management measures and advisory bodies are in place, although management it is not effective yet as it lacks data and a plan with harmonized regulatory measures for the whole area.