This fish is similar and closely related to the Atlantic halibut, hippoglossus hippoglossus, although it is generally smaller. Nonetheless, halibut is the largest of all flatfish and can stretch up to 8 feet long and 4 feet across and weigh more than 600 pounds (although such sizes are exceptional) and commands the highest price of any flatfish. Pacific halibut ranges the ocean from California to the Bering Sea and westward to Russia and the Sea of Japan. The majority of the resource lies in waters adjacent to British Columbia and Alaska where it is taken by longliners.
Thanks to changes in resource management, the days of "derby" fishing (where short fishing periods created situations where vessels actually sank under the weight of fish caught) are over, replaced by an individual vessel quota system that stretches the fishing season over the year. Now, fresh halibut moves into markets throughout the year, although the principal season remains the May-November period.
Pacific halibut is a medium-fat fish whose flesh is glossy white (almost translucent) and firm. Halibut retains its moisture well when it is frozen and keeps its texture when cooked. It is a very versatile fish available in a variety of product forms - headed and gutted, as steaks, fillets, loins, roasts and in a boneless fillet form called "fletches."
NOTE: These processors are volume wholesalers and are not usually set up to deal directly with consumers.
Source: Department of Fisheries and Oceans
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