Every Halibut Counts
Best Practices for Carefully Releasing Sport-Caught Halibut
About half of the halibut caught by Alaska anglers are released, due either to regulation or fisherman preference. A small percentage of released halibut succumb to injury or stress. Anglers can reduce the mortality of these fish by following a few simple practices, including:
- Treat halibut gently.
- Minimize handling.
- Unhook the fish in the water if possible.
- If a halibut must be brought aboard, cradle it to protect the spine and internal organs, and slip it head-first back into the sea.
Below you'll find links to a short video illustrating release techniques, a brochure of best practices, and a placard that can be posted on board halibut charter boats. Working together, we can ensure the survival of released halibut.
This brochure shows best practices for carefully releasing halibut, including tips suggested by charter boat operators and fishery scientists for treating every fish with care and making every halibut count.
Every Halibut Counts – placard
This best practices boat card [PDF; 3.7 MB] is designed for posting on board a charter vessel to show the operator's commitment to being a good steward of Alaska's halibut. The placard summarizes techniques for gentle handling of halibut to minimize injury and reduce release mortality.
If you would like to have a 5 by 8 inch copy of this placard for your boat, please email the Alaska Marine Conservation Council.
This video offers sport fishermen some techniques for the careful release of halibut.
Produced and directed by Deborah Mercy, written by Terry Johnson, narrated by Dave Marciano, with music by Gene Michael Productions.
This clip is also available on YouTube.
Other sources of information
Every Halibut Counts, Terry Johnson, Charter bLog, 2014 Summer Issue
Halibut Gentle Release Project Initiated, Terry Johnson, Charter bLog, 2013 Summer Issue
Project aims to improve release techniques for sport-caught halibut, news release, 7/8/2013
Better Handling for Sport Caught Halibut, Alaska Fish Radio, 10/7/2013