TurbotThe Turbot is a large, round-bodied flatfish, whose flesh has a very high value. It is a voracious predator, and is able to gobble up surprisingly large fish by extending its flexible jaws to reveal an enormous, tooth-line mouth. Juvenile Turbot can be found in shallow sandy beaches around the southern coasts, and as adults, move into deeper water at the edges of bays. 

Like all flatfish, Turbot are actually lying on their side. They are born looking like a “normal” fish, but fall onto their side when they are a few weeks old. As this happens, one eye migrates round the head to join the other on what becomes the top of the fish. The body flattens out and the young Turbot heads from mid-water to the sea-bed to begin its life as a flatfish.

The underside of a Turbot is generally un-coloured, but the top side is filled with pigments which the fish is able to alter to allow it change its colour to blend in with its surroundings. This process takes several minutes, after which the Turbot becomes nearly completely camouflaged.

Turbot are hardy, fast-growing fish, able to reach marketable size in just two years. So, with their high market value, are potentially an excellent farmed species. However the water off Ireland ’s coast is too cold for Turbot to grow at maximum speed, so any Turbot farm in this country would likely be land-based, making it more expensive to operate. There is a Turbot hatchery on the Isle of Man , which supplies juvenile Turbot to farms in continental Europe .





Other Name(s):




Irish Name:



20 years

Scientific Name:

Scopthalmus maximus


Mud burrows in the sea-bed



Irish Distribution:

Around the southern coasts


Small fish such as Sandeel and Whiting

Interesting Fact:

The Turbot has a close cousin, the Brill. They are virtually identical, except the Brill has a smoother skin complexion, and also the Brill’s dorsal fin protrudes right round its body to its eye