Halibut, Pacific

Hippoglossus stenolepis

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — Longline
Capture area — North East Pacific (FAO 67)
Stock area — Canada
Stock detail — Canadian Pacific, British Columbia
Certification — Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Picture of Halibut, Pacific

Sustainability rating two info

Sustainability overview

The stock status is healthy and populations are increasing. Fishing mortality is measured by fishing intensity, which is below the target levels, but there is uncertainty in fishing mortality data. The fishery is managed through a integrated groundfish management programme through minimum sizes and transferable quotas. A variety of bycatch species and some overfished species are caught. Longlining is a relatively low impact gear. To further reduce its impacts, there is monitoring of fishing locations, recording of bycatch and protected areas.


Distributed on or near the continental shelf throughout the north Pacific, Pacific halibut are found at a range of depths. Older fish are found in deeper waters in the winter and only move into shallower waters in the summer. Younger fish are found in shallower waters. Males can reach a size of 260cm and females of about 270cm; maximum reported age is 42 years. Females grow faster and live longer than males. Maturity is at about 5 years for males and 7 years for females. Spawning period is from November to January at depths of 200 to 1500 feet.

Stock information

Criterion score: 0.25 info

Stock Area


Stock information

The stock status is healthy. The population has been increasing slowly.


Criterion score: 0.25 info

The International Pacific Halibut Commission has responsibility for managing stocks and applies strict harvesting conditions. The fishery is managed through a integrated groundfish management programme (which means that many different species are caught in the fishery). Halibut are managed using quotas, minimum sizes and transferable quotas.

Capture Information

Criterion score: 0.25 info

Longlining is a less fuel intensive and more selective method of fishing.

This fishery is managed through a groundfish management programme where many species are caught as part of a mixed fishery. Therefore, bycatch is often retained and receives management. ETP species caught in the fishery include yelloweye and rougheye rockfishes but measures have however been introduced in this fishery to reduce the ecological impacts of longline fishing and these species receive regular monitoring.


Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Halibut, Atlantic (Farmed)
Halibut, Pacific
Sole, Dover sole, Common sole
Sole, Lemon
Turbot (Caught at sea)
Turbot (Farmed)


DeAlteris, J. & Trumble, R.J. 2016. First Annual Surveillance Report Canada Pacific Halibut Fishery Hippoglossus stenolepis. MRAG. St. Petersburg, FL.