Fish Radio
July 24, 2013          

Mushy halibut

Mushy halibut


 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch. No mushy halibut reports so far – More after this — 

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 Reports of mushy halibut were wide spread among sport fishermen for the past two years, especially in parts of the Central Gulf.  The fish have large areas of body muscle that is opaque and jelly-like.  It’s been spotted in halibut since the late 1980s, but the high numbers last year were unique.

 “I can say that we have seen it in Homer, and in Seward, and we’ve even seen some reports from Kodiak Island.”

 Ted Meyers is the state’s Chief fish Pathologist. Researchers aren’t sure of the cause, he says, but suspect it stems from nutritional deficiencies.

 “We just don’t have enough information on it yet.”

 Scientists are gathering data on the location, size, age and sex of the fish, but there’s little new to tell.

 “We have had some of these halibut aged. There does not seem to be a difference between an older halibut and a younger halibut. There does not seem to be any difference between male or female.”

 There have been no reports of mushy halibut so far this year. Myers says even less is known about occurrence in the commercial fishery.

 “The commercial industry has not identified this as a problem in their processing of halibut. Although they haven’t really been looking for it, but it hasn’t really surfaced as a real problem. So who knows, or at this point we just need more information.”

 Mushy halibut syndrome is not to be confused with chalky halibut. That is linked to a build up in lactic acid in the fish which causes the flesh to turn white and dry and sometimes gape.  

Chalky halibut

Chalky halibut


No matter whether it’s mushy or chalky, if you catch a halibut with either condition, report it to Fish and Game or the IPHC. 

 Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.