Helluva Halibut

Ginormous halibut from Cousteau Society's World Ocean Census. Picture taken c. 1910 at Provincetown, MA. (click image)

Perusing the internet for maps, I came across the Cousteau Society’s World Ocean Census. They have several extracts available to read online. I clicked on Extract 4: Painting a Picture of the Past – Whaling Logs, Menus and Other Records and found this ginormous halibut! As an example of how baselines shift, I didn’t even know halibut got that frikkin big!! Its pretty frightening to think how I have lived slightly over 30 years with the image in my head of a fish that I typically eat that is only a fraction of the size it once was. The scarier part is that, halibut, indeed all fish, may be even smaller or not even around for my kids to enjoy. A world without smoked halibut or halibut Bearnaise is not a world I want to pass down to my adorable children.

I want my kids to be as enthralled with tasty large fish as I was with this image. Except, I do not want to look at pictures of ghosts of large fish past, I want to see them out there in the ocean. I want to eat halibut, but see healthy populations thriving on seafloor.

Can I have my cake and eat it too? I think so, this is why we need to continue providing sound science-based management and interact with policy makers and fisheries manager.  Most importantly, we need to reach out to fishermen and provide incentives and technology that aide them in earning their living sustainably and support an industry that provides many jobs in rural economies. This includes reducing demand, and thus raising prices, to relieve pressure on the fish. Are you prepared to pay the real worth of your food in the western world? I’ll put my money where my mouth is.

Buy The World Ocean Census, visit The Cousteau Society.

Kevin Zelnio (870 Posts)

5 Replies to “Helluva Halibut”

  1. It almost looks like a perspective photo, with the fish hanging in the foreground and the man several feet behind that. Why would they take such a photo? I dunno… just for the halibut?

  2. According to Fishbase, the longest Atlantic Halibut on record measured 470 cm, in which case there would be no need for funny use of perspectives…

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