Atlantic Halibut


Scientific Name:Hippoglossus hippoglossus

Description: The body is strongly, laterally compressed with the eyes on the right side. The head is about 25% of the body length and has strong teeth in both jaws. The colour is variable with the upperside greenish-brown to dark-brown and the underside white.

Habitat and Distribution: Atlantic Halibut live in cool boreal and sub-arctic waters on both sides of the North Atlantic. They move from shallow waters to deeper waters in the winter.

Diet: These fish are voracious feeders up to a length of 30cm and feed on annelid worms, crustaceans such as crab and shrimp. At 30-80cm they consume invertebrates and other fish. When they reach sizes of over 80cm, they only consume fish.

Growth: They have the fastest growth rates of flatfish, with females growing faster than males and attaining larger sizes. Some large fish have been estimated to be around 30-35 years old.

Reproduction: Spawning takes place in late winter or early spring in much of Canada. They are batch spawners that spawn at 183m or deeper, with large females producing up to 2 million eggs. Eggs hatch at 16 days at 6'C. The larvae stage is pelagic and has a very long yolk sac stage.

Predation: Larval and juvenile Atlantic Halibut are eaten by other fish. Greenland Sharks are also said to prey on halibut.

Relation to man: Atlantic Halibut have a high commercial price. They are caught by otter trawls and longlines. In 1981, 1932 tonnes were caught at a value of $4,759,000. There is currently a lot of work being done on the aquaculture of Halibut.

OSC Images

Mix HalibutAdult HalibutAdult Halibut2

OSC Research

Aquaculture Research and Development Facility (ARDF) - Atlantic Halibut Broodstock Research and Development - Vinland Aqua-Farms Ltd has been involved in Atlantic halibut research and development since its incorporation in 2000. Vinland's goal is the establishment of a land-based facility capable of producing 500 tonnes of farmed halibut annually supplying local and international markets with fresh product throughout the year.

During the past three years Vinland Aqua-Farms has been working in collaboration with the Aquaculture Research and Development Facility (ARDF) at the Ocean Sciences Centre (OSC) to refine and promote the growth of Atlantic halibut aquaculture within Atlantic Canada.


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