Halibut are among the largest fish in the ocean, and they are an important species for both commercial and recreational fishing. There are two species of halibut, Pacific Halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) and Atlantic Halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus). Here's some more information about halibut:
Habitat: Halibut are found on or near the continental shelf in very cold waters. Atlantic halibut range from Labrador and Greenland to Virginia, with the highest concentrations found in the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, and the Grand Banks. Pacific halibut are found from northern California to the Chukchi Sea, with high concentrations in the Gulf of Alaska, British Columbia, and the Aleutian Islands.
Size and Appearance: Halibut are among the largest flatfish, with Pacific Halibut reaching up to 500 pounds and 8 feet in length, and Atlantic Halibut can reach up to 700 pounds and 15 feet in length. They have a diamond-shaped body that is dark brown to black on the top side and white on the underside.
Diet: Halibut are predatory fish, feeding on a variety of fish such as cod, herring, and sand lance, as well as invertebrates like crabs and octopuses.
Reproduction: Halibut spawn in deep water from November to March, and females release millions of eggs, which are fertilized externally. The eggs and larvae are free-floating for several months before the young settle onto the bottom and the left eye migrates to the right side of the body.
Fishing: Halibut are a very popular sport fish due to their size and the quality of their meat. They're typically caught using heavy fishing gear on or near the sea floor.
Conservation: Atlantic halibut are considered overfished, and efforts are being made to manage and restore the population. Pacific halibut populations are currently considered stable and are managed by the International Pacific Halibut Commission.
Culinary Use: Halibut is known for its sweet taste and firm, flaky texture. Its mild flavor makes it very versatile in the kitchen. It's often baked, broiled, grilled, or sauteed, and it's popular in fish and chips.
As always, it's important to follow local fishing regulations and guidelines if you're fishing for halibut, and to choose sustainably caught or farmed fish when buying halibut.