Halibut with Champagne butter sauce and Charlotte potatoes.
What Is Halibut And Why Is It So Expensive?
By Christina Garcia
Both Pacific and Atlantic halibut are huge fish, weighing up to 500 pounds in the case of the Pacific species, and a few hundred pounds more in the case of the Atlantic species.
Halibut live up to 50 years (Atlantic) or more (Pacific) and take about 10 years to reach maturity. This slow timeline, along with fishing limits, affects availability and price.
Once widely commercially fished, Atlantic halibut is no longer allowed to be harvested except by small fisheries in Maine, leading to higher demand and elevated prices.
Kyle Molton, Fishery Management Specialist with NOAA Fisheries, explains that "vessels are allowed to keep one halibut per trip that is 41 inches or larger per fishing trip."
Atlantic halibut is considered overfished, and though stock numbers are not "at risk," the species is "in a rebuilding plan" with a target date of 2055 for complete rebuilding.
While Pacific halibut are not overfished and are often fished for food and sport, their size fluctuates. This is both in population and in actual size.
With large fish promising multiple filets, plus changes in size due to various factors and fishing restrictions meant to ensure the species' survival, it's no wonder prices are up.