Pacific halibut

Pacific halibut

Halibut have been fished for hundreds of years by native Americans on the west coast of the U.S. The U.S. commercial fishery started in 1888, when halibut were first landed in Tacoma, Washington.

Because halibut can be kept for long periods of time without spoiling, they soon became a popular target for commercial harvesters. In the 1890s, a fleet of sailing vessels with two-man dories fished for halibut from the west coast. Large steam-powered vessels soon entered the industry, and by the 1910s it became clear that halibut stocks were suffering from overfishing. In 1923 the U.S. and Canada signed a convention on halibut, creating what was eventually called the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC).

Current Pacific halibut catch sharing plan for Area 2A

Pacific halibut fact sheet

A man proudly holds up a halibut he caught
Jeromy Jording (NOAA) holds up a Pacific halibut caught in Westport, Washington.


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A man in a wetsuit stands on a rocky shore holding a small halibut


Robin Ehlke