Halibut mature slowly, live long lives and are able to spawn annually by releasing several batches of eggs each season – up to 7 million eggs, after the age of 8. At this time they are moderately vulnerable to fishing pressure and there has been collapse of the American stocks due to overfishing, they have never fully recovered and their numbers remain low, so limits do need to be enforced and managed very carefully.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the Atlantic Halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) was classified as an endangered species in 1996. The fish, which makes its home in the northern Atlantic waters, is extremely popular as a food source for humans. As mentioned by other respondents, the fish grows slowly and comes to sexual maturity relatively late in life, making them a slowly-reproducing fish that is extremely slow to recover from blows to its population. There are no longer large enough populations of the fish to support halibut-specific fisheries; instead they are caught as bycatch by bottom trawling fisheries.
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