How far do halibut migrate?



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    Halibut experience two types of migration; a compensatory migration, in which juveniles move from shallow nursery grounds to deeper areas on the shelf which they inhabit as adults, and annual migrations of adults from the summer feeding grounds to winter spawning grounds. The compensatory migration happens after initial growth on the nursery grounds, around ages two or three This migration can take several years to complete, and is usually over once they find a summer feeding ground. Some halibut continue to migrate in subsequent years, moving to more eastward grounds. The longest migration on record was that of a fish tagged near Atka Island in the Aleutian Islands, which was recaptured at Coos Bay, Oregon, a distance of 2,500 mi (4,023 km). Once halibut become mature, they seasonally migrate in the fall from the shallower (100 to 600 foot!) waters of the continental shelf to the bottom edge of the continental slope – as deep as 2,000 feet. But they also have a northern component to the fall migration – oftentimes moving many hundreds of miles north in the winter, and then back to their home grounds in the summer.

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