The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) maintains a variety of research projects designed to evaluate the physical health and viability of the Pacific halibut stock and fishery.
Hooking Behavior and Prior Hook Injuries
The IPHC has conducted several studies detailing Pacific halibut hooking behavior, hook type, hook size comparisons, as well as an investigation on how to most effectively string a circle hook to maximize catch. Additionally, the IPHC has monitored prior hook injuries (PHI) on the IPHC fishery-independent setline survey since 1997.
Flesh Conditions: Chalky and Mushy Pacific Halibut
Chalky and mushy Pacific halibut are conditions affecting the flesh of the fish that have been observed throughout the range of Pacific halibut. The first reports of mushy Pacific halibut date back to the late 1980s, while reports of chalky Pacific halibut have occurred for at least fifty years. Prevalence of these conditions can vary greatly between years and location. While the cause of mushy flesh is not known, it seems to be related to nutritional deficiencies. Chalky flesh has been attributed to a buildup of lactic acid in the muscle of the fish.
Whale depredation affects the Pacific halibut fishery to varying degrees, and is highly location-dependent. The IPHC has monitored signs of whale depredation on the fishery-independent setline survey since 2009, and has recorded marine mammal sightings during the survey since 2001.