Despite these ecological, commercial, recreational, and nutritional values, overfishing of the Atlantic halibut has resulted in being rated as an endangered species, with a high risk of extinction in the wild.
The average fish size seems to reflect density dependence in growth rate, where slower growth is associated with higher halibut (or other species) abundance, potentially due to less food available per fish.
Halibut also is important ecologically as an integral part of marine food chains.
Consequently, fish labelled as "halibut" is usually one of the other large flatfishes, often the Pacific halibut.
Animals found in their stomachs include the octopus, crab, shrimp, hermit crab, lamprey, eel, sculpin, cod, pollock, flounder, and other halibut.
Small halibut catches are reported in coastal Washington, Oregon, and California.
The Pacific halibut, Hippoglossus stenolepis, is one of the largest teleost fish in the Pacific, with the largest sport caught halibut being 459 pounds (208 kg) near Unalaska, AK, in 1996 (Bethers 2010).
The North Pacific commercial halibut fishery dates to the late 19th century and today is one of the region's largest and most lucrative.
Halibut is noted for its dense and firm texture.
The Atlantic halibut was formerly a very important food fish, but due to its slow rate of population growth it is unable to recover quickly from overfishing, and the fishery has largely collapsed.
In 2010, Greenpeace International added the Atlantic halibut to its seafood red list.
The Atlantic halibut, Hippoglossus hippoglossus, is the largest flatfish in the Atlantic and one of the largest species of teleost fish in the world.
The Atlantic halibut is native to the temperate waters of the northern Atlantic, from Labrador and Greenland to Iceland, the Barents Sea and as far south as the Bay of Biscay.
Sport has been increasingly organized and regulated from the time of the Ancient Olympics up to the present century.
At six months, the halibut has its adult form and is about 1.4 inches (3.6 cm) long.
The Atlantic halibut has been reported to reach a maximum lifespan of 50 years (Luna and Torres 2010; Bigelow and Schroeder 1953).
In both commercial and sport fisheries, it is not uncommon to shoot or otherwise subdue very large halibut before landing them.
The common name halibut also is used for some other species of flatfish.
Halibut belong to the family of flatfish that face their "right" side upward, the righteye flounder, family Pleuronectidae.
Halibut are often broiled, deep-fried or grilled while fresh.
Historically, halibut also have been an important food source to Native Americans and Canadian First Nations and continue to be a key element to many coastal subsistence economies.
The Pacific halibut, however, continues to have healthy populations, and remains a lucrative commercial fishery.
Halibut do not reproduce until age eight, when about 30 inches long, so commercial capture below this length prevents breeding and is against U.S. and Canadian regulations supporting sustainability.
From November to March, mature halibut concentrate annually on spawning grounds along the edge of the continental shelf at depths from 183 to 457 meters (600 to 1,499 feet).
Pacific halibut fishing is managed by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC).
During this time the young halibut rise to the surface and are carried to shallower water by prevailing currents.
The Pacific halibut are characterized by diamond-shaped bodies.
The halibut are cleaned soon after being boated and are kept on ice to retain freshness.
Male halibut become sexually mature at 7 or 8 years of age while females attain sexual maturity at 8 to 12 years.
Smoking is more difficult with halibut meat than it is with salmon, due to its ultra-low fat content.
Halibut of all ages and sizes are involved in a predominantly clockwise (Northwest to Southeast) migration from their settlement areas (Western part of the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea).
On the other hand, the strong-swimming halibut is able to capture and feed upon a wide variety of fish, crustaceans, and mollusks.
The Pacific halibut is found on the continental shelf of the North Pacific Ocean and Bering sea.
Halibut feed on almost any animal they can fit into their mouths and being strong swimmers, they are able to capture a large variety of fishes.
Young halibut are highly migratory and generally migrate in a clockwise direction east and south throughout the Gulf of Alaska.
Juvenile halibut feed on small crustaceans and other bottom-dwelling organisms.
The Atlantic population is so depleted through overfishing that consumers are now cautioned to avoid Atlantic halibut.
Atlantic halibut are eaten by seals, and are a staple food of the Greenland shark.
During the free-floating stage, many changes take place in the young halibut, including the movement of the left eye to the right side of the fish.
A contributing factor is that the halibut does not reach sexual maturity until roughly eight years of age.
Halibut in general are a more elongate fish than other flatfish, being only about one-third as broad (width of the body) as is long (Bigelow and Schroeder 1953).
To get the bait down to the halibut, it is usually fished on a wire spreader or a sliding-sinker rig (Schultz 2010).
Halibut in older age classes tend to be less migratory but continue to move predominately in a clockwise direction.
The name halibut itself means "holy flafish," derived from haly (holy) and butt (flat fish), for its popularity on Catholic holy days in England (Uncle Ray 1941).
The Atlantic halibut is a U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service "Species of Concern."
Nelson (2006) placed the halibut, genus Hippoglossus within the subfamily Hipoglossinae, along with the genera Atheresthes, Clidoderma, Reinhardtius, and Verasper.
Halibut are strong and fight strenuously when exposed to air.
A lean fish, with white flesh that has few bones, and a high nutritional value, the halibut is a favorite among those who eat fish.
Fishing is a unique activity that can be pursued as a hobby, a way of acquiring food for subsistence, or as a commercial profession.
Halibut is a very popular food, with lean, white, sweet-flavored flesh with few bones and high nutritional value.