Chefs love Pacific halibut for its mild, sweet taste, and firm texture, which adapts well to many types of cooking. Also, strong management of Pacific halibut fisheries makes this delicious fish an excellent, ocean-friendly seafood selection.

Pacific halibut is the largest flatfish, and it’s full of flavor. The firm, meaty steaks are fantastic on the grill, or try halibut fillets poached with piccata or infused with ginger and served over sesame rice.

Also known as:

Pacific halibut, halibut

Availability:

Year-round, frozen. March-November, fresh

Product forms:

Fresh and frozen, fillets and steaks

Shopping tips:

When possible, choose to buy fresh halibut. If frozen is your only option, remember that frozen halibut will take about one-third less time to cook than fresh halibut.

Substitutions:

Pacific halibut is an excellent ocean-friendly substitution for overfished Atlantic halibut.

Recipes:

Pan-poached wild-caught Pacific halibut piccata

Ginger-infused wild-caught Pacific halibut with honey wasabi sauce over sesame rice

Halibut fishery: Most Pacific halibut are caught using bottom longlines. More

Conservation notes:

Pacific halibut is considered a ocean-friendly seafood choice because it is well managed and the population is healthy. More.
Last updated: July 2011

       

Halibut Fishery

Pacific halibut are primarily caught using bottom longlines. Longlines are a type of fishing gear that consists of a long central line that has smaller fishing lines with baited hooks spaced along its length. Although bycatch, which is the accidental capture of other animals such as fish and seabirds, can be a problem in longline fisheries, the Pacific halibut fishery takes steps to reduce these impacts.

Pacific halibut fisheries are managed cooperatively by an international management body and most Pacific halibut is caught in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. Effective management measures such as size limits and fishing quotas are in place in the fishery and management decisions are informed by sound scientific research.

Conservation Notes

Some popular seafood species have a history of being managed ineffectively, which can often result in population declines that can take many years or decades to reverse. The Pacific halibut fishery, however, is managed in such a way as to maintain healthy populations and ensure the fishery does not negatively impact the ecosystem.

Also, some types of commercial fishing gears (such as bottom trawls) can impart substantial impacts on ocean floor habitats. While it does contact the sea floor, bottom longline gear does not cause substantial damage to these habitats. Although seabird bycatch tends to be an issue in some bottom longline fisheries (the birds target the baited hooks as they come off the boat, before they sink to the bottom), the Pacific halibut fishery now mandates the use of "streamer lines," which have been shown to be effective at reducing seabird bycatch.