Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Pacific Halibut

Jeffery S. Fraser is a retired executive who divides his time between Wyoming and Alaska, where he manages Tsaina Lodge in Valdez. Since he retired, Jeffery Fraser has picked up a number of hobbies, such as fishing. Alaskan waters are home to a vast number of fish species, including the Pacific halibut.

A large flatfish up to 9 feet in length and weighing approximately 500 pounds, the Pacific halibut resides along the continental shelf from Northern California to the Bering Sea in Alaska. It has a diamond-shaped body and may live for up to 55 years.

The Pacific halibut is a migratory species. The fish travel great lengths to reproduce, and females can spawn anywhere between 500,000 and 4 million eggs depending upon size. Their annual migrations take them back and forth between their shallow summer feeding waters and the deeper winter waters where they lay their eggs. Halibut larvae begin their lives upright with eyes on either side of their head, although the left eye begins to migrate to the right side when the fish reaches about an inch in length.

Pacific halibut serve as a major sport fish in Alaska, along with salmon. Anglers may engage in guided and unguided sport fishing for halibut, although they must remain in compliance with fishing regulations set forth by the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council each year. Fishing regulations determine the number of halibut anglers may harvest in order to keep populations healthy.