Hippoglossus hippoglossus, Atlantic halibut : fisheries, aquaculture, gamefish, aquarium

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Hippoglossus hippoglossus (Linnaeus 1758)

Atlantic halibut
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Hippoglossus hippoglossus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Hippoglossus hippoglossus (Atlantic halibut)
Hippoglossus hippoglossus
Picture by Dolgov, A.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Pleuronectiformes (Flatfishes) > Pleuronectidae (Righteye flounders) > Hippoglossinae
Etymology: Hippoglossus: Greek, ippos = horse + Greek, glossa = tongue (Ref. 45335).  More on author: Linnaeus.

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; demersal; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 50 - 2000 m (Ref. 4705).   Temperate; 79°N - 36°N, 77°W - 55°E

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Eastern Atlantic: Bay of Biscay to Spitsbergen, Barents Sea, Iceland and eastern Greenland. Western Atlantic: southwestern Greenland and Labrador in Canada to Virginia in USA (Ref. 7251).

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 122.0, range 135 - ? cm
Max length : 470 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 7251); 300.0 cm TL (female); max. published weight: 320.0 kg (Ref. 7251); max. reported age: 50 years (Ref. 173)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 98-110; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 73 - 85. Uniformly dark brown or black; young marbled or spotted with paler marks (Ref. 4705).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Adults are benthic but occasionally pelagic (Ref. 4705). Feed mainly on other fishes (cod, haddock, pogge, sand-eels, herring, capelin), but also takes cephalopods, large crustaceans and other bottom-living animals. Batch spawner (Ref. 51846). Growth rate varies according to density, competition and availability of food. Slow growth rate and late onset of sexual maturity, halibut populations can be seriously affected by overfishing (Ref. 35388). Utilized fresh, dried or salted, smoked and frozen; can be steamed, fried, broiled, boiled, microwaved and baked (Ref. 9988). Also Ref. 58426.

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Males reach sexual maturity at 7-8 years and females at 10-11 years. Spawning happens from December to April, near the bottom (300 to 700 m), at temperatures between 5 and 7°. Egg size 3.0-3.8, larval size at hatching 6.5 mm (Ref. 4705).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Amaoka, Kunio | Collaborators

Nielsen, J.G., 1986. Pleuronectidae. p. 1299-1307. In P.J.P. Whitehead, M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen and E. Tortonese (eds.) Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. UNESCO, Paris. Vol. 3. (Ref. 4705)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)

  Endangered (EN) (A1d); Date assessed: 01 August 1996

CITES (Ref. 123416)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: experimental; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums
FAO(Aquaculture: production; fisheries: production; publication : search) | FishSource | Sea Around Us

More information

Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
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Gill area


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Estimates based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969): 0.4 - 7.9, mean 3.4 °C (based on 1760 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.7500   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00631 (0.00369 - 0.01080), b=3.15 (2.99 - 3.31), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245).
Trophic level (Ref. 69278):  4.0   ±0.5 se; based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179):  Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (tmax=30; tm=10; K=0.02-0.2; Fec=1,300,000; also Musick et al. 2000 (Ref. 36717)).
Prior r = 0.47, 95% CL = 0.31 - 0.71, Based on 1 stock assessment.
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Very high vulnerability (88 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Very high.