Certifier : 
Global Trust Certification Ltd.
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
16 May 2013
Certificate expires : 
03 Apr 2029


Fisheries are composed of one or more parts, each of which is entitled to receive an MSC certificate. These parts or “units” are defined by their target stock(s), fishing gear type(s) and if relevant vessel type(s), and the fishing fleets or groups of vessels.

When the term “Unit of Certification” is used for fishing units that are in assessment, it refers to the “Unit of Assessment” or “Unit of potential certification”. Expand a status below to view the parts that form this fishery. To check the detailed scope, download the latest certificate or open the Assessments page to get the latest report. Find out more by visiting our page on Fisheries

Units of Certification & Certificate Information

  • Certified
    MSC UoC Number Species Gear Type Ocean Area Certificate Code
    UoC-0583 Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) Gillnets And Entangling Nets - Gillnets 21 (Atlantic, Northwest) MSC-F-31379 (F-SAI-016)
    UoC-0670 Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) Hooks And Lines - Handlines and pole-lines (hand-operated) 21 (Atlantic, Northwest) MSC-F-31379 (F-SAI-016)
    UoC-0581 Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) Hooks And Lines - Longlines 21 (Atlantic, Northwest) MSC-F-31379 (F-SAI-016)
    UoC-0582 Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) Trawls - Bottom trawls 21 (Atlantic, Northwest) MSC-F-31379 (F-SAI-016)

View glossary of terms

Catch by Species

Species Reported Catch Year Metric Tonnes
Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) 2022 5,445.5

Information is provided by an independent Conformity Assessment Body as live weight (the weight of species at the time of catch, before processing) and where a fishing season covers multiple years, the end year is given as the reported catch year. Additional information is available in the latest report, see the assessments page.

Eligibility, client groups and vessel lists

A fishery may choose to define the members of the fishery certificate. These members can be vessels or other client group members (e.g. companies that own vessels and/or companies that are named as eligible to handle certified product covered within the fishery certificate scope). Please refer to the fishery certificate statement on additional product specific eligibility criteria (e.g. product eligibility limitations, eligibility date, exclusive points of landing and the point where Chain of Custody certificate is required). Please consult the fishery Public Certification Report for product eligibility rationale.

Documents Published on Files
List of client group members 11 Jun 2024 1 files

About this Fishery

Canada's Atlantic halibut fishery attained MSC certification in 2003, after 15 years of careful management to rebuild depleted stocks.

Atlantic halibut are the largest flatfish in Atlantic Canada, growing to lengths of 250cm and weighing in excess of 300kg.

Halibut in the western Atlantic range from off the coast of Virginia, USA in the south to the waters of Disko Bay, Greenland in the north. They are generally found at depths of 200m to 500m, with larger individuals in the deep-water channels between the Grand Banks and Georges Bank and the Canadian continental shelf. Juveniles are found at shallower depths.

Halibut are also found in the eastern Atlantic. These stocks are managed separately.

Halibut are demersal (living near the sea floor), at temperatures within a few degrees of 5˚C.

Around 85% of Atlantic halibut are caught by demersal longline. The gear consists of a main line, with baited hooks attached to shorter lines coming off the main line.

Atlantic halibut are also caught as a bycatch in otter trawl, gillnet and handline fisheries. These fish are included in the fishery’s management plan and total allowable catch.

Market Information

Around 20 Canadian companies supply Atlantic halibut, as fresh and frozen fillets. The main markets are Canada, the US and the EU.