Much like land-based food products, such as root vegetables or berries, seafood too can be seasonal – which means there are times during the year when certain seafood species are at their peak flavour profile and supply. Today, March 23, marks the beginning of the Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) season, and lasts until November – no doubt an exciting time for the commercial fishing industry, chefs, retailers, and of course, seafood aficionados and foodies.

Not only do seasons help to identify the best seasons to enjoy seafood, but fishing seasons are also put in place to protect fish at vulnerable times of year, especially when they’re spawning or protecting their young. This also ensures fisheries will focus on mostly mature adult fish, as opposed to juveniles.

Halibut is one of the most popular and widely used whitefish available in the market today, prized for its delicate, flaky texture, mild flavour and versatility. This season is the ideal time to enjoy fresh halibut, either at one of the Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise partner restaurants or at a local Ocean Wise retailer or market. You can also check out the Ocean Wise Cookbook for plenty of unique and mouth-watering ideas.

Whether you’re looking to enjoy a halibut dish at a local restaurant, or pick up some fresh halibut at the market, keep in mind that Ocean Wise Pacific halibut is a great sustainable option. The Pacific halibut fishery is one of the most well regulated fisheries, and is managed jointly between Canada and the United States by the International Pacific Halibut Commission. Each year, this commission sets catch limits for the fishing season based on biomass surveys across both borders. These catch limits ensure that these populations will never be overfished.

Ocean Wise is Vancouver Aquarium’s national sustainable seafood initiative. Look for the Ocean Wise symbol next to a seafood item for Vancouver Aquarium’s assurance of an ocean-friendly seafood choice. Visit oceanwise.ca to learn more, or download the Ocean Wise iPhone app to find local Ocean Wise restaurants or retailers.

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