British Marine Life Study Society

Common Name(s):
Atlantic Halibut
Holibut, Holyfish 
Kveite (Norway). 
Scientific Name:
Hippoglossus hippoglossus
Family: Pleuronectidae (right-eyed) 
Minimum Size: 10 kg. 
A 39.25 stone (550 lb) (=250 kg) Halibut caught by Arthur D. Campbell (d. 2006)  at the East Horns Iceland on 18th May 1963
Fish landed in Aberdeen, Scotland by the Ben Cairn trawler. 
Report by Vic Green


22 September 2015
A huge Atlantic Halibut, Hippoglossus hippoglossus, was caught in Andfjorden, north Norway, by Reed Marianne, which weighed in at 270 kg (595 lb). The report did not give the length but the photograph showed it to be over 3 metres in length. It was caught at a depth of 31 metres. This may be a new record weight Halibut caught on rod and line. 


July 2013
A huge Atlantic Halibut, Hippoglossus hippoglossus, was caught by Marco Liebenow in northern Norway. It weighed 233 kg (515 lb) and measured 260 cm in length. 

Huffington Post Report

7 June 2006
The largest* Atlantic Halibut, Hippoglossus hippoglossus, ever recorded was caught and landed by professional net fisherman Rolf Larsen (62 years old), at Stamsund, Lofoten, Norway (within the Arctic Circle but with seas warmed by the Gulf Stream). This massive fish weighed 282 kg and would have probably weighed 290 kg when first caught. The difference was because of the loss of blood after capture. Its total length was 262 cm. The fish was sold for display. 

Report by Kent Andersson
Fiske-Kent / American Fisheries Society
Nettavision News Report (with a photograph)

(* My current information has the previous largest as 266 kg and 365 cm long. This length appears to be wrong.)

July 2004
A world record Atlantic Halibut, Hippoglossus hippoglossus, weighing 190 kg was caught from Vannaya Troms, Norway by Thomas Nielsen.

IGFA Record
BMLSS Large Halibut File (More Records)
Halibut (Wikipedia)
The Atlantic Halibut is by far the largest flatfish found around the British Isles, and the largest in all of the oceans. 
Dark brown on upper surface. 
Right-eyed Flounder (like the Plaice, unlike the Sole). 
The lateral line is strongly curved unlike Reinhardstius hippoglossoides
Continuous dorsal fin has longer rays in the centre. 
More Information File
Similar species:
A similar and slightly smaller and slimmer species found in the Pacific Ocean is known as Hippoglossus stenolepis
The Greenland Halibut, Reinhardstius hippoglossoides, is a different smaller species that is caught in commercial quantities off Iceland. 

Breeding:  Matures at about 10 years at a length of about 100 cm. (Maturity size and age varies in different areas). 
Winter spawner on the sea bed at depths of 300-1,000 metres, usually about 700 metres. 
2 million + large eggs. 
Metamorphosis of larvae to flatfish shape at a length of approx. 23 mm (Russell). 
Habitat: Usually at depths of 100 metres and below. Seas of this depth are only found off the western coasts of Ireland and Scotland. However, the young fish spend their lives inshore in shallower water at depths of around 30 metres for between 2 and 4 years. (Sussex fish
This fish is not confined to the sea bottom. One western Atlantic fish has been recorded travelling a distance of 2600 km over a 7 year period. 
Temperature range 2.5° C - 8° C. 
Food: Active mid-water and bottom feeder over depths of between 100-2,000 metres. Fish, squids of many species, including Redfish, Capelin, Haddock, Cod and  Herring. 
Range:  North Atlantic coasts in cold water (Arctic-Boreal fauna) south Spitzbergen (Svalbard) - Ireland, Iceland, southern Greenland-Newfoundland and Chesapeake Bay  (USA). Formerly plentiful in Massuchusetts Bay. 
Additional Notes:
A 39.25 stone (550 lb) (=250 kg) Halibut caught by Arthur D. Campbell (d. 2006)  at the East Horns Iceland on 18th May 1963
Fish landed in Aberdeen, Scotland by the Ben Cairn trawler. 

Report by Vic Green

A massive two metre long Atlantic Halibut, Hippoglossus hippoglossus, was caught by  fishermen and brought into Aberdeen in August 1998. It weighed 135 kg (298 lb). Although in the past Halibut up to 2.5 metres long were reported, these fish no longer get the opportunity to attain this size. They are caught before they grow to their maximum size. 
The largest fish caught on rod and line from a boat in British seas weighed 106 kg (234 lb) and was caught by C. Booth off Dunnet Head, north Scotland, in 1979. 
In 1957 a fish of about 232 kg (511 lb) was landed by commercial fishermen at Grimsby.
More Information on this Fish (Link)
The World Angling Record for Halibut is from Norwegian seas.The largest Hippoglossus hippoglossus caught on rod and line from a boat in Norway weighed 161.2 kg and was caught at Valevågsbråtet the 20th of October 1997. (Superceded by a bigger fish.)
The biggest Atlantic Halibut caught off Iceland by commercial fishermen was 3.65 m long and weighed 266 kg. 
The Halibut is found on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean and until recently the largest specimen caught on rod and line was off the United States and weighed 115.8 kg (255 lb). 

My father caught a 195 kg (428 lb) Halibut off the south-west coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, in the late 1960's. I have also caught a couple over 136 kg (300 lb), in the deep water in the middle of the bay of Fundy (Nova Scotia).  These fish were caught by otter trawling. 
Randy W. Theriault   EMail:

Information Credits at Halibut File
Halibut (Index to British Marine Fish /External) 
Information wanted: Please send any records of this fish, with location, date, who discovered it, how it was identified, prevalence, research into fish farming, food of juveniles, growth rates, diet, specimen fish, juvenile fish in shallow water and any other details to 
Shorewatch Project EMail 
Shorewatch Project
Report  Forms

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The Eggs & Planktonic Stages of British Marine Fish by F.S Russell 
Academic Press 1976,  ISBN 0.12 604050-8