Certifier : 
MRAG Americas, Inc.
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
30 Sep 2009
Certificate expires : 
25 Sep 2024


Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) © Scandinavian Fishing Year Book

Pacific halibut is a large flatfish which inhabits the continental shelf of the United States and Canada, ranging from California to the Bering Sea, and extending into Russia and Japan.

Halibut can grow to be more than 200kg, is firm textured and has relatively few bones, making it a popular food fish. They are occasionally eaten by marine mammals but are rarely prey for other fish.

Pacific halibut stocks have been increasing in recent years, and are expected to continue to do so at current harvest rates. Halibut are known to live to 50 years or more, although the average age taken in the fishery is around 10-13 years.

Up to 435 Canadian vessels, ranging from around 10m to 25m, are licensed to fish commercially for Pacific halibut. They fish using longlines, which cause minimal damage to seabed habitats. Halibut are large fish, so using relatively large hooks reduces unwanted capture of smaller fish.

The halibut fishery is part of an integrated groundfish management programme, which manages more than 50 species holistically to reduce bycatch and discards. Independent video monitoring and dockside validation ensures fishers are accountable for everything they catch, both target and non-target species.

Meet the Fishers: British Columbia (BC) Canada Pacific halibut from Marine Stewardship Council on Vimeo.