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Threatened Animal Species in Sweden: Atlantic Halibut

The halibut is the largest flatfish in the world and can reach a length of over four meters. However, it is very rare to find large individuals these days due to it being heavily overfished. The largest man caught in modern times in Sweden weighed 111 kg with a length of 204 cm.

It lives on sand, gravel or mud bottoms, all the way down to 2000 meters, where it mainly eats other fish, but squid, crustaceans, mussels, and more are also are on the menu.

The species has a relatively slow growth rate and reaches sexual maturity late. Females do not become sexually mature until they are ten to twelve years old. Their lifespan is usually around 25-30 years, but an individual caught by fishermen was fifty-years-old.

An interesting fact about halibuts is that they are actually born with their eyes in an upright position. When they reach about two and a half centimeters, the left eye moves over the nose to the right side of the head.

Why is the halibut threatened?

Since it grows slowly and takes a long time to reach sexual maturity, it is vulnerable to overfishing.

Can you in good conscience eat halibut?

To protect stocks, WWF Sweden recommends that you only buy halibut that are

grown in Norway or is netted in Norway, north of the 62nd parallel. All other fishing areas (and fishing methods) they strongly advise against buying from.

Image credit: shankar.s. / CC BY 2.0


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