Last week we asked the question of how far a halibut travels for their winter spawning migration. The furthest distance on record that a halibut migrated was 2,500 miles! That halibut was tagged near Atka Island in the Aleutian Islands and recaptured at Coos Bay, Oregon. Typically, halibut don’t travel this far. They have summer feeding grounds in 100-600 feet of water, then migrate to depths over 2,000 feet off the continental shelf. The distance between these two areas isn’t far. We can drive 30 miles west of Kruzof and find water that deep. After halibut spawn, the eggs are swept north by prevailing currents towards the Gulf of Alaska.
The current pattern of migration resembles the instinctive behavior of salmon. Although most halibut won’t travel the 2,000 miles that an average salmon will to spawn, halibut will return to the same areas to spawn and feed. But, unlike salmon who only make this trip once, halibut will repeat this tradition year after year.
Thanks to everyone who participates in our weekly trivia. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s question about the beautiful tufted puffin!