Atlantic halibut

Page - May 27, 2009

Greenpeace Canada Redlist

Fishery Facts

Latin Name Hippoglossus hippoglossus

Fishing Method Bottom trawl, bottom longline.

Region of Harvest North Atlantic, from Newfoundland to Greenland and Norway. Fished in Atlantic Canadian waters off Newfoundland, Labrador, Baffin Island and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as well as eastern Scandanavia.

Atlantic halibut
Why is it on the red list?   Biology

1. Atlantic halibut in Canada and the U.S. have been heavily overfished. In the West Atlantic, the species has been depleted to very low levels, was declared to be overfished in 2001 and it is not expected to rebuild in the near future.

2. The use of indiscriminate fishing gear leads to the bycatch of immature halibut which is inhibiting population recovery.

3. The Atlantic halibut was designated as an endangered species by the IUCN in 1994 and has yet to be updated.

Atlantic halibut live between 50 to 2000 metres below sea level.

Halibut take long to reach maturity (five to 15 years) and can live to be 50 years old.

Halibut can measure 4.7 metres and weigh up to 320 kilograms.

Atlantic halibut feed on other fish (cod, haddock, sand-eels, herring, capelin) but also eat cephalopods, large crustaceans and other bottom-dwelling animals.

As halibut mature, their left eye migrates to the right side of the head and they swim with the blind side facing the ground.