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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:

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.

brochure and placard

Best Practices for Carefully Releasing Sport-Caught Halibut – brochure

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.

Every Halibut Counts – video

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

For more information

Every Halibut Counts is a collaborative project of the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, Alaska Marine Conservation Council, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, International Pacific Halibut Commission, and individual charter boat operators, with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. This project provides information to halibut charter boat crews, their clients, and unguided recreational anglers on the best ways to release halibut.