ATLANTIC HALIBUT

How to identify an Atlantic Halibut

The underside is usually pearly white and featureless but some specimens have a reddish tint on their underside giving them the nickname, “cherry bellies”. The lateral line, which has a scale count of about 160 scales, is straight for most of its length but curves high over the pectoral fin. The huge mouth is very well equipped to feed on anything that it can fit into its mouth and the teeth are curved.Although catches have been reported to more than 500 lbs in the past, the largest halibut of recent times have been in the 200-300 lb range. Typically, the average weight of an Atlantic halibut is from 50-150 lbs. Halibut weighing 350 lbs are about 7-8 feet long and 4 feet wide making them a challenging fish for anglers.

Where to catch Atlantic Halibut

The Atlantic halibut inhabits cold and boreal waters of the North Atlantic, including the Barents Sea, Iceland, and Greenland. It is also found in very deep, cold waters as far south as Virginia on the American side and southwest Ireland on the European side of the Atlantic Ocean. This species does not occur in near freezing polar waters as many people believe, but is replaced in these waters by the Greenland halibut.

IDENTIFICATION

How to Identify a Atlantic Halibut
 1The lateral line is straight for most of its length but curves high over the pectoral fin
 2The upper surface is a uniformly dark chocolate, olive or slate colour and can be almost black; the underside is pale
 3The end of the caudal fin is concave

TARGET AREAS

  • Rocky sea floor



Acknowledgements:  We thank TAKEMEFISHING.org (www.takemefishing.org), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Department of Natural Resources for their contributions to these FISH FACTS.

Acknowledgements:  We thank TAKEMEFISHING.org (www.takemefishing.org), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for their contributions to these FISH FACTS.

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