Giant Halibut: Alaska Flat Fish

Tourism in Alaska is blooming and with its magnificent landscapes and snow-covered mountaintops, who wouldn’t want to spend a once in a lifetime adventure here? With its tourism as competitive as those from the other states, Alaska is well acclaimed for the many riches its lands and seas have to offer. And what is a better way to enjoy the holidays than to spend it through sports fishing, right?

Alaska is known to be one of the best places to be in if you love fishing. And of course, the best place to catch Alaska’s Flat fish – the Giant Halibut. The word halibut came from the word haly (holy) and butt (flat fish). Its popularity sprung from it being the usual fish eaten during Catholic holy days.

The Giant Halibut came from the flat fish species where right-eyed flat flounders also came from. Its habitat is both the North Pacific and North Atlantic Ocean. Being part of the flounder family, this is like many others from its origin, dark gray color on the top side and an off-white underbelly. Its two eyes are of different shades, one is black the other white and can be both seen on the same side. This rather unique feature of the Halibut makes it a very popular fish in Alaska — popular not only for hunting but also for eating. The reason why they are called giants is because they are one of the biggest flat fishes in the ocean. Most halibuts grow at about 24-30 lbs in weight and 2.5 meters in length. The giant ones feed on crustaceans and other sea creatures, which they can fit into their mouths. When they feed they usually go near the surface of the ocean to catch fish but they often spend their time and their lives near the bottom of the ocean.

Today, Halibuts are being marketed not only as food to local and international tourists but are also used for attractions. The rapid spread of halibut hunting has become a global trend. And because of the alarming effects on these magnificent sea creatures, the government needed to make adjustments regarding halibut fishing. The number of Halibut all over the world is being maintained carefully since halibuts are slow when it comes to reproduction. It is only by the age of eight that halibuts can procreate. With the policy of total allowable catch per annum, halibuts are protected from both legal and illegal fishing and/or hunting.

As for sports fishing, Giant halibuts are still part of this incredible event each year in Alaska. To be part of this competition, you must be aware of the 1995 US regulations regarding the sports fishing of these large halibuts. Fishing and hunting is allowable during open season but are not allowed to be abused. The government also made sure that Giant halibuts are sold at a high price so it won’t be often used for food.

It is indeed the aim of the US government to make sure that halibuts all over America are well protected by the law. This is important to prevent exploitation and endangerment of the said species. These fishes, after all, make is possible for many states like Alaska to become tourist hot spots in the country.

Photos are of actual sport-caught Giant Halibut from Seward, Alaksa. Photos used by permission from J-Dock Seafood Company, Seward, Alaska.