Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Found on various types of bottoms (Ref. 2850). Young are found near shore, moving out to deeper waters as they grow older (Ref. 6885). Older individuals typically move from deeper water along the edge of the continental shelf where they spend the winter, to shallow coastal water (27-274 m) for the summer (Ref. 28499). Feed on fishes, crabs, clams, squids, and other invertebrates (Ref. 6885). Utilized fresh, dried or salted, smoked and frozen; eaten steamed, fried, broiled, boiled, microwaved and baked (Ref. 9988). The US North Pacific halibut fishery of this species has been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (http://www.msc.org/) as well-managed and sustainable (http://www.msc.org/html/content_1258.htm).
  • Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann 1983 A field guide to Pacific coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 336 p. (Ref. 2850)
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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North Pacific: Hokkaido, Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk to the southern Chukchi Sea and Point Camalu, Baja California, Mexico.
  • Allen, M.J. and G.B. Smith 1988 Atlas and zoogeography of common fishes in the Bering Sea and northeastern Pacific. NOAA Tech. Rep. NMFS 66, 151 p. (Ref. 6793)
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North Pacific.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 90 - 106; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 69 - 80; Vertebrae: 49 - 51
  • Hart, J.L. 1973 Pacific fishes of Canada. Bull. Fish. Res. Board Can. 180:740 p. (Ref. 6885)
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Size

Max. size

258 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 40637)); 267 cm TL (female); max. published weight: 363.0 kg (Ref. ); max. reported age: 55 years (Ref. 55701)
  • IGFA 2001 Database of IGFA angling records until 2001. IGFA, Fort Lauderdale, USA. (Ref. 40637)
  • Munk, K.M. 2001 Maximum ages of groundfishes in waters off Alaska and British Columbia and consideration of age determination. Alaska Fish. Res. Bull. 8(1):12-21. (Ref. 55701)
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Maximum size: 1400 mm TL
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Diagnostic Description

Dorsal origin above anterior part of pupil in upper eye, generally low, higher in middle. Caudal spread and slightly lunate. Pectorals small.
  • Hart, J.L. 1973 Pacific fishes of Canada. Bull. Fish. Res. Board Can. 180:740 p. (Ref. 6885)
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat Type: Marine

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Environment

demersal; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); marine; depth range 0 - 1200 m (Ref. 50550)
  • Riede, K. 2004 Global register of migratory species - from global to regional scales. Final Report of the R&D-Projekt 808 05 081. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn, Germany. 329 p. (Ref. 51243)
  • Fedorov, V.V., I.A. Chereshnev, M.V. Nazarkin, A.V. Shestakov and V.V. Volobuev 2003 Catalog of marine and freswater fishes of the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk. Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 2003. 204 p. (Ref. 50550)
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Depth range based on 817 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 499 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 5 - 224.5
  Temperature range (°C): -1.199 - 8.274
  Nitrate (umol/L): 3.141 - 30.351
  Salinity (PPS): 31.566 - 33.906
  Oxygen (ml/l): 2.565 - 7.817
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.937 - 2.545
  Silicate (umol/l): 14.903 - 46.900

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 5 - 224.5

Temperature range (°C): -1.199 - 8.274

Nitrate (umol/L): 3.141 - 30.351

Salinity (PPS): 31.566 - 33.906

Oxygen (ml/l): 2.565 - 7.817

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.937 - 2.545

Silicate (umol/l): 14.903 - 46.900
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 6 - 1097m.
From 6 to 1097 meters.

Habitat: demersal. Lives on various type of bottoms. Feeds on fishes, crabs, clams, squids, and other invertebrates (Ref. 6885). Adults make extensive spawning migrations (Ref. 6885). Spawns from November to January at depths between 275-412 m (Ref. 6885). Large females produce as much as 3,000,000 eggs annually (Ref. 6885). Eggs are pelagic and mainly found at 100-200 m depth (Ref. 6885). Newly hatched pelagic larvae are found at depths below 200 m (Ref. 6885). Young are carried inshore by surface currents and become established on the bottom near shore, adults move out to deeper water (Ref. 6885). Utilized fresh, dried/salted, smoked and frozen; eaten steamed, fried, broiled, boiled, microwaved and baked (Ref. 9988).
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Oceanodromous. Migrating within oceans typically between spawning and different feeding areas, as tunas do. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
  • Riede, K. 2004 Global register of migratory species - from global to regional scales. Final Report of the R&D-Projekt 808 05 081. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn, Germany. 329 p. (Ref. 51243)
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Trophic Strategy

Found on various types of bottoms (Ref. 2850). Young are found near shore, moving out to deeper waters as they grow older (Ref. 6885). Older individuals typically move from deeper water along the edge of the continental shelf where they spend the winter, to shallow coastal water (27-274 m) for the summer (Ref. 28499). Feeds on fishes, cephalopods, crabs, clams, squids, and other invertebrates (Ref. 6885).
  • Hart, J.L. 1973 Pacific fishes of Canada. Bull. Fish. Res. Board Can. 180:740 p. (Ref. 6885)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Hippoglossus stenolepis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 18 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ACACGTTGATTTTTCTCGACCAATCACAAAGACATCGGCACCCTCTATCTCGTATTTGGTGCCTGAGCCGGAATAGTGGGGACAGGCCTA---AGTCTGCTTATTCGGGCAGAACTAAGCCAACCCGGGGCTCTCCTGGGAGAC---GACCAAATTTATAATGTAATCGTCACCGCACACGCCTTTGTAATAATCTTTTTTATAGTAATACCCATTATGATTGGGGGGTTCGGAAACTGGCTTATTCCACTAATA---ATTGGGGCCCCAGATATGGCGTTCCCTCGAATGAATAATATGAGTTTCTGACTTCTTCCCCCCTCCTTTCTCCTCCTCTTAGCCTCTTCAGGTGTTGAAGCCGGAGCAGGTACCGGATGAACCGTATACCCCCCACTAGCTGGCAATTTAGCCCACGCCGGAGCATCCGTAGACCTG---ACAATCTTCTCACTTCACCTTGCAGGAATTTCATCAATTCTGGGGGCAATTAACTTTATTACTACTATCATTAACATGAAACCCACAACAGTCACTATGTACCAAATCCCCTTATTTGTTTGAGCCGTTCTTATTACAGCCGTACTTCTTCTTCTATCCCTGCCCGTTTTAGCCGCA---GGAATTACAATACTACTAACAGACCGCAACCTTAACACGACCTTCTTTGACCCTGCCGGAGGAGGTGACCCCATCCTCTACCAGCACCTATTCTGATTCTTTGGTCACCCAGAGGTATACATTCTTATTCTCCCGGGCTTCGGAATAATTTCTCACATTGTTGCATACTATGCAGGTAAGAAA---GAACCTTTTGGCTACATGGGGATAGTCTGAGCTATAATGGCCATTGGACTCCTGGGGTTCATTGTCTGGGCCCATCACATATTTACAGTCGGAATAGATGTAGACACACGAGCCTACTTTACCTCTGCCACAATAATCATTGCGATTCCAACTGGCGTAAAAGTCTTTAGCTGACTC---GCAACCCTCCATGGAGGA---AGCATTAAATGAGAAACACCCCTTCTATGAGCCCTCGGCTTTATTTTCCTCTTTACAGTAGGCGGTCTCACTGGCATTGTCTTAGCTAACTCCTCTCTCGATATTGTTCTGCATGACACATACTATGTAGTCGCTCACTTCCACTATGTA---CTATCTATGGGTGCTGTATTTGCAATCGTTGCCGCCTTCGTCCACTGGTTTCCATTATTTACAGGCTATACCCTTCACTCCACATGAACAAAAATCCACTTCGGCCTGATATTTATTGGAGTCAATCTAACATTCTTCCCCCAACATTTTCTGGGCCTGGCCGGAATACCCCGA---CGGTACTCAGACTACCCAGATGCATACACC---CTTTGAAACACTGTTTCATCAATCGGGTCCCTAATGTCCCTCGTTGCTGTAATTTTATTTTTATTCATTATTTGAGAAGCATTTACAGCCAAACGAGAAGTC---GGAGCAGTAGAACTAACTGCAACTAAC
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Hippoglossus stenolepis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 18
Specimens with Barcodes: 56
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Threats

Not Evaluated
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: highly commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums; price category: very high; price reliability: reliable: based on ex-vessel price for this species
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 1992 FAO yearbook 1990. Fishery statistics. Catches and landings. FAO Fish. Ser. (38). FAO Stat. Ser. 70:(105):647 p. (Ref. 4931)
  • International Game Fish Association 1991 World record game fishes. International Game Fish Association, Florida, USA. (Ref. 4699)
  • Newman, L. 1995 Census of fish at the Vancouver aquarium, 1994. Unpublished manuscript. (Ref. 9183)
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Wikipedia

Pacific halibut

Hippoglossus stenolepis, the Pacific Halibut, is a species of righteye flounder. This very large species of flatfish is native to the North Pacific and supports important commercial fishery.

Distribution[edit]

d160
The Pacific halibut is one of the largest flatfish
250

The Pacific halibut is found on the continental shelf of the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. Fishing for the Pacific halibut is mostly concentrated in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea, off the west coast of Canada. Small halibut catches are reported in coastal Washington, Oregon, and California. Pacific halibut is broken up into 10 regularity management areas.

Halibut are demersal, living on or near the bottom of the water and prefer water temperatures ranging from 3 to 8 degrees Celsius (37.4 to 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit). Pacific halibut belong to the family Pleuronectidae. They are among the largest teleost fishes in the world. From November to March, mature halibut concentrate annually on spawning grounds along the edge of the continental shelf at depths from 183 to 457 m (600 to 1,499 ft).

Halibut are strong swimmers and are able to migrate long distances. 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), reproductive fish also make regular seasonal migrations from more shallow feeding grounds in summer to deeper spawning grounds in winter.[1]

Characteristics[edit]

Pacific halibut have diamond-shaped bodies. They are more elongated than most flatfishes, the width being about one-third of the length. It has a high arch in the lateral line over the pectoral fin, and a lunate, or crescent-shaped tail, which is different from other flat fishes.[2] Small scales are embedded in the skin. Halibut have both eyes on their dark or upper sides. The color on the dark side varies, but tends to assume the coloration of the ocean bottom. The underside is lighter, appearing more like the sky from below. This color adaptation allows halibut to avoid detection by both prey and predator. They are one of the largest flatfish (only surpassed by the closely related Atlantic halibut), and can weigh up to 500 lb (230 kg) and grow to over 8 ft (2.4 m) long.[3]

Food[edit]

Being strong swimmers, halibut are able to eat a large variety of fishes, including cod, turbot, and pollock, and some invertebrates, such as octopus, crab and shrimp. Sometimes, halibut leave the ocean bottom to feed on pelagic fish, such as salmon, sand lance and herring.

Life cycle[edit]

Dorsal (upper) side of head
Ventral (lower) side of head
Halibut begin life as larva in an upright position with an eye on each side of their head. When they are about an inch long, their left eye migrates over their snout to the right side of their head, and the color of the left side fades.[3]

Spawning takes place during the winter months, with the peak of activity occurring from December through February. Most spawning takes place off the edge of the continental shelf in deep waters of 600 to 1,500 ft (183 to 457 m). Male halibut become sexually mature at seven to eight years of age, while females attain sexual maturity at eight to 12 years. Females lay 0.5 to 4.0 million eggs annually, depending on the size of the fish.[4]

Fertilized eggs hatch after about 15 days. Free-floating larvae float for up to six months and can be transported several hundred miles counter-clockwise by North Pacific currents. 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. During this time, the young halibut rise to the surface and are carried to shallower water by prevailing currents. At six months, the halibut has its adult form and is about 1.4 in (3.6 cm) long.[4] In the shallower water, young halibut then begin life as bottom dwellers. Most young halibut ultimately spend from five to seven years in rich, shallow nursery grounds such as the Bering Sea.

Young halibut are highly migratory and generally migrate in a clockwise direction east and south throughout the Gulf of Alaska. Halibut in older age classes tend to be less migratory, but continue to move predominately on a clockwise direction. Mature fish are also involved in winter spawning migrations towards deeper waters, migrating across several areas in some instances.[1] Research has indicated small, localized spawning populations may occur in deep waters such as in Chatham Straight in northern Southeast Alaska. However, because of the free-floating nature of larvae and subsequent mixing of juvenile halibut from throughout the Gulf of Alaska, only one genetic stock of halibut is known in the northern Pacific.

Halibut growth rates vary depending on locations and habitat conditions, but females grow faster than males. The oldest recorded female and male were 55 years old. The largest recorded sport-caught halibut was 459 lb (208 kg) near Unalaska, AK, in 1996.[5]

Length and weight[edit]

Pacific Halibut WL.jpg

As Pacific halibut grow longer, they increase in weight, but the relationship between length and weight is not linear. The relationship between total length (L, in inches) and total weight (W, in pounds) for nearly all species of fish can be expressed by an equation of the form: W = cL^b\!\,

Invariably, b is close to 3.0 for all species, and c is a constant that varies among species.[6] A weight-length relationship based on a least-squares fit to data published in 2003 by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IHPC)[7] suggests, for Pacific halibut, c = 0.00018872 and b = 3.24.

This relationship predicts a 20-inch (51 cm) Pacific halibut will weigh about 3 lb (1.4 kg), a 36-inch (91 cm) halibut will weigh about 20 lb (9.1 kg), and a 58-inch (150 cm) halibut will weigh about 100 lb (45 kg).

Commercial fishing[edit]

Commercial halibut fishing probably began in 1888 when three sailing ships from New England fished off the coast of Washington.[5] As the industry grew, company-owned steamers carrying several smaller dories, from which the fishing was actually conducted, dominated the halibut industry. Subsequently, smaller boats of schooner design from 60 to 100 ft (18.3 to 30.5 m) were used by fishermen. These boats carried crews of five to eight and were specifically designed for halibut fishing. Today, many types of boats are used in the halibut industry. Most of the old-style halibut schooners have been replaced by more versatile craft that may also be used in commercial salmon serine, troll, gillnet, and crab fisheries.

Halibut gear consists of units of leaded ground line in lengths of 100 fathoms (600 ft; 183 m) referred to as “skates”. Each skate has about 100 hooks attached to it. “Gangens”, or the lines to which the hooks are attached, are either tied to or snapped onto the ground line. A “set” consists of one or more baited skates tied together and laid on the ocean bottom with anchors at each end. Each end has a float line with a buoy attached. Hooks are typically baited with frozen herring, octopus, or other fresh fish. Depending on the fishing ground, depth, time of year, and bait used, a set is pulled two to 20 hours after being fished. Longlines are normally pulled off the ocean floor by a hydraulic puller of some type. The halibut are cleaned soon after being boated and are kept on ice to retain freshness. Homer, Alaska, claims the title of "Halibut Capital of the World" because of the large volume of both sport and commercial halibut fishing in the area.

Sport fishing[edit]

Filleting a 20 pound Pacific halibut
Smoked Pacific halibut on smoker racks

Sport fishing for halibut in Alaska is a very popular activity; it is a strong fighter and one of the world’s largest bony fish with an impressive yield of firm, white flesh.[2] Over 65% of the effort and harvest occurs in Cook Inlet, southeast Alaska, the Kodiak area, and near the mouth of Deep Creek in the Lower Cook Inlet.

Halibut taken by anglers are generally 15 to 20 lb (6.8 to 9.1 kg) in weight; but fish over 150 lb (68 kg) are regularly caught. The current Alaska state record for a sport-caught halibut is 459 lb (208 kg),[5] and a fish must weigh at least 250 lb (113 kg) to qualify for the state’s trophy fish program. Anglers use stout saltwater gear to harvest halibut. Most anglers prefer to fish with bait, especially herring, but also squid, octopus, cod pieces, or other small bottom fish. To get the bait down to the halibut, it is usually fished on a wire spreader or a sliding-sinker rig with sinker size 4 oz (113 g) to 4 lb (1.81 kg), depending on such factors as depth and current.[2]

Halibut, along with salmon, provide substinence for several Pacific Coast native groups. Many of these groups smoke and dry the halibut for winter use. Sportsmen’s effort and interest in catching these delicious fish is increasing each year. In southeast Alaska, halibut are second only to king salmon in sport angler preference.[5] Fishing for Pacific halibut is regulated by the International Pacific Halibut Commission. Members from the United States and Canada meet yearly to review research, check the progress of the commercial fishery, and make regulations for the next fishing season. The management of halibut fishing by this commission is intended to allow a sustainable yield.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.iphc.int/publications/annual/ar2009.pdf
  2. ^ a b c Schultz, Ken. Ken Scultz’s Essentials of Fishing.John Wiley and & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey, 2010. ISBN 978-0-470-44431-3, pp. 66-67
  3. ^ a b Pacific halibut NOAA FishWatch. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  4. ^ a b The Pacific Halibut: Biology, Fishery and Management IPHC Technical Report No. 40, 1998
  5. ^ a b c d Bethers, Mike. Pacific Halibut. Alaska Department of Fish & Game. Read Online Accessed 5/23/2010
  6. ^ R. O. Anderson and R. M. Neumann, Length, Weight, and Associated Structural Indices, in Fisheries Techniques, second edition, B.E. Murphy and D.W. Willis, eds., American Fisheries Society, 1996.
  7. ^ Halibut weight/length chart (Imperial) published by the IHPC 2003
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