While halibut are renowned across the world, perhaps nowhere is the fish more revered than in Norway, where it appears in Stone Age carvings and stars in legends. Now, Norway is the origin of some of the finest farmed halibut in the world.
Atlantic halibut is the largest member of the flatfish family, with eyes on its grayish side and a white underbelly. Juveniles are found along the coast of Norway in relatively shallow waters, whereas full-grown Atlantic halibut usually stay at depths of 300 to 2,000 meters.
Atlantic halibut are territorial, grow very slowly, and mature late, which makes them extremely vulnerable to overfishing. Luckily, the fish thrives in aquaculture, and the controlled environment leads to a fish with excellent culinary attributes.
Nordic Halibut are bred to produce thick, delicious fillets, with a slightly higher yield compared to wild halibut. The meat has a finer texture and quality, owing to diligent care during handling and harvest, and can even be used for raw preparations.
Nordic Halibut farms in the fjords surrounding Averøy Island on the west coast of Norway. Since 1995, Nordic Halibut has continuously expanded operations, though even today their annual production is less than 1,000 tons. This slow growth has been intentional: rather than force volume, the focus has always been on the welfare of the fish.
Superior broodstock is key to their success. The original broodstock were carefully selected for size, health, age, and attitude. Since then, through no manipulation other than breeding, Nordic Halibut has developed genetic lines well adapted to aquaculture and social living.
Stocking density in marine grow-out pens is much lower than required by Norwegian regulations, and no prophylactic antibiotics or other drugs or chemicals are ever been used during grow-out.
in the kitchen
Nordic Halibut have thick, delicious fillets, with a slightly higher yield compared to wild halibut. The meat has a finer texture and quality, owing to diligent care during handling and harvest.
While wild halibut are not generally considered appropriate for raw applications, Nordic Halibut, thanks to its smaller size and diet, is perhaps best appreciated in a sashimi or crudo presentation.
Nordic Halibut website
Nordic Halibut on Instagram @nordichalibut
Norway’s Other Favorite Fish (blog post)