Greenland Halibut/Turbot | Oceana Canada

Canadian Marine Life Encyclopedia

Greenland Halibut/Turbot

Reinhardtius hippoglossoides

Also known as

Newfoundland turbot, flatty, turbot, blue halibut, black halibut


Circumpolar. In the northeast Pacific from Alaska to Mexico, and in the northwest Atlantic


Soft bottoms in arctic and temperate waters

Feeding Habits

Active predator

Conservation Status

Not listed


Order Pleuronectiformes (flatfishes); Family Pleuronectidae (right-eye flounders)


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Greenland halibut are a large flatfish that have both eyes on the right side of their head. Their close relatives, the Atlantic halibut and Pacific halibut, use this design to swim flat against the ocean floor, as do Greenland halibut. However, Greenland halibut are also known to swim vertically, thanks to their eyes being closer to the front of their head than their relatives, allowing them to look forward while swimming upright. Greenland halibut use this ability to swim vertically to help them migrate and forage for food. 

Greenland halibut spawn in the winter months, congregating in large groups in deep waters to exhibit “batch spawning,” a process where multiple males and females release eggs and sperm simultaneously into the water column to fertilize as many eggs as possible at one time. The eggs and newly hatched larvae drift along in the upper layers of the water column. Once they reach their adult form, the young fish will settle in shallower waters. Greenland halibut feed on crustaceans, capelin, redfish and other smaller fish. They are also typically found in higher concentrations in areas with large shrimp populations. Greenland halibut populations in the Pacific and Arctic grow faster but live shorter lives than those found in the Atlantic.