Halibut, Pacific

Hippoglossus stenolepis

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — Longline
Capture area — North 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

Stocks are managed sustainably by the International Pacific Halibut Commission who apply strict harvesting conditions. Longline fisheries for Pacific halibut in the waters of Alaska, Washington, Oregon and British Columbia have been certified by the MSC as environmentally sustainable. These are the best choice for the fishery.

Biology

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

Stock Area

Canada

Stock information

Stocks in the area are healthy and productive. A quota of 5,277 tonnes is in place for this fishery.

Management

The International Pacific Halibut Commission has responsibility for managing stocks and applies strict harvesting conditions. These include a minimum commercial size limit of 81.3cm; a boat weight limit; seasonal restrictions, and closed areas. Allocation of individual quotas have meant that the halibut fishery is commercially sustainable. Longline fisheries for Pacific halibut in the waters of Alaska, Washington, Oregon and British Columbia have been certified by the MSC as environmentally sustainable. These are the best choice for the fishery. Interactions between IPHC (International Pacific Halibut Commission), Canadian and US fisheries are well managed and quotas are well regulated. There is a clear overall strategy to account for ecological impacts and take measures to adjust fishing practices to mitigate impacts.

Capture Information

Longlining is a less fuel intensive and more selective method of fishing.There is, however, a possible bycatch of shark and other non-target species including seabirds, ask for fish caught using 'seabird-friendly' methods. See Fishing Methods for details. Measures have however been introduced in this fishery to reduce the ecological impacts of longline fishing. Accurate records are kept on bycatch species and their respective characteristics. Reliable estimates are available of all populations related to the fishery.

Alternatives

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.

Dab
Halibut, Atlantic (Farmed)
Halibut, Pacific
Megrim
Plaice
Sole, Dover sole, Common sole
Turbot (Farmed)

References

www.msc.org; http://www.adfg.alaska.gov; www.iphc.int/?; www.fishbase.org/summary/Hippoglossus-stenolepis.html