Credit: Bill Sullivan

Alaskans are long accustomed to seeing farmed Atlantic salmon on supermarket shelves – but farmed   Atlantic halibut is less familiar.

Earlier this year fresh, farmed halibut from Norway was spotted at a Costco near Seattle selling for $9.99 a pound.

Besides Norway, research shows that halibut also is farmed in Canada, Iceland and Scotland. It began in the 1980s but has shown slow but steady outputs only over the past five years or so.

Total global production so far is only about 4.4 million pounds, of which over 3.5 million pounds come from three farms in Norway.

Farming halibut is very time consuming and complex which is why it’s being done by only a few growers. Establishing good broodstock takes up to 10 years and it takes four to five years to reach a market size of about 11 pounds. The halibut are grown out in either sea cages or big land based facilities.

Imports of farmed halibut might be a drop in the bucket, but trade data show the U.S. is spending millions of dollars on halibut from other countries.

For all of 2019 through February of this year, the U.S. bought nearly 2 million pounds from Norway at a cost of over $10.5 million.

And while halibut landings have decreased for Alaska fishermen and prices have plummeted into the three dollar range, U.S. purchases of halibut from Canada have soared.

For last year through this February,  halibut imports to the U.S. mostly from eastern Canada and in various product forms topped  15.3 million pounds for which the U.S. paid nearly $107 million.

So much for buying American!

HALIBUT DOCK PRICES  — Thanks to Alaska Boats and Permits, Homer

4-16-20 HOMER 4.00/4.25/4.50
3-27-20 JUNEAU 4.00/4/40
3-19-20 KODIAK 3.25/3.50/4.00
4-24-20 SEWARD 3.00 STRAIGHT
4-14-20 SITKA 3.75 STRAIGHT
4-22-20 YAKUTAT 3.75 STRAIGHT
3-19-20 WRANGELL 3.50 STRAIGHT

 

National Marine Fisheries Service
Fisheries Statistics and Economics Division

 

Month Country Product Name Kilos Dollars
2019
February CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FRESH 220,824 3,311,167
February CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FROZEN 10,510 107,418
February CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT NSPF FILLET FROZEN 1,105 25,526
February CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FROZEN 6,170 77,414
Subtotal: February 238,609 3,521,525
March CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FRESH 303,700 5,152,481
March CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FROZEN 10,493 122,600
March CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT NSPF FILLET FROZEN 18,852 420,633
March CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FRESH 133,908 2,495,135
March CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FROZEN 860 17,086
Subtotal: March 467,813 8,207,935
April CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FRESH 289,779 4,882,953
April CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FROZEN 8,255 71,304
April CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT NSPF FILLET FROZEN 3,096 59,665
April CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FRESH 184,570 3,137,556
Subtotal: April 485,700 8,151,478
May CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FRESH 385,897 6,591,906
May CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FROZEN 2,304 15,238
May CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT NSPF FILLET FROZEN 3,146 69,350
May CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FRESH 129,187 2,179,168
Subtotal: May 520,534 8,855,662
June CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FRESH 597,337 9,529,102
June CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FROZEN 36,710 332,776
June CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT NSPF FILLET FROZEN 330 7,997
June CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FRESH 197,698 3,258,451
Subtotal: June 832,075 13,128,326
July CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FRESH 571,536 8,797,533
July CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FROZEN 59,435 374,224
July CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT NSPF FILLET FROZEN 1,772 42,216
July CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FRESH 300,168 4,802,049
July CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FROZEN 330 5,816
Subtotal: July 933,241 14,021,838
August CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FRESH 480,069 7,904,500
August CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FROZEN 74,433 528,467
August CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT NSPF FILLET FROZEN 342 8,608
August CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FRESH 239,989 4,023,350
Subtotal: August 794,833 12,464,925
September CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FRESH 471,779 7,697,679
September CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FROZEN 43,851 320,106
September CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT NSPF FILLET FROZEN 4,177 104,753
September CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FRESH 152,695 2,538,184
September CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FROZEN 1,461 8,765
Subtotal: September 673,963 10,669,487
October CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FRESH 441,562 7,244,524
October CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FROZEN 19,547 129,363
October CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT NSPF FILLET FROZEN 1,361 26,206
October CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FRESH 124,829 2,238,135
October CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FROZEN 3,792 37,611
Subtotal: October 591,091 9,675,839
November CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FRESH 162,097 2,623,519
November CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FROZEN 31,271 193,740
November CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT NSPF FILLET FROZEN 17,020 318,665
November CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FRESH 94,071 1,606,814
November CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FROZEN 7,974 121,528
Subtotal: November 312,433 4,864,266
December CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FRESH 88,000 1,392,043
December CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FROZEN 27,552 197,710
December CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT NSPF FILLET FROZEN 11,021 183,162
December CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FROZEN 14,001 220,321
Subtotal: December 140,574 1,993,236
Grand Total: February – December, 2019 5,990,866 95,554,517
2020
January CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FRESH 268,901 4,436,147
January CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FROZEN 1,092 9,628
January CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT NSPF FILLET FROZEN 5,689 110,554
January CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FROZEN 15,811 242,638
Subtotal: January 291,493 4,798,967
February CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FRESH 384,073 5,763,472
February CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT ATLANTIC FROZEN 14,736 131,642
February CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT NSPF FILLET FROZEN 11,605 114,710
February CANADA FLATFISH HALIBUT PACIFIC FROZEN 33,825 543,813
Subtotal: February 444,239 6,553,637
Grand Total: January – February, 2020 735,732 11,352,604

 

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