Double Life of Greenland Halibut Studied in Iceland Skip to content

Double Life of Greenland Halibut Studied in Iceland

By Iceland Review

Star-Oddi, a developer and manufacturer of technology for aquatic and fish research, has designed an electronic tag which can be used to study the alleged “double life” of the Greenland halibut, in cooperation with marine research institutions in Iceland, Norway, Greenland and the Faroe Islands.


Fishing in Iceland. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

The study’s aim, among other purposes, is to determine whether the fish behaves as a flatfish on the ocean floor but as a demersal fish by swimming vertically in the ocean, as stated in news magazine Kastljós.

The halibut’s behavioral pattern is largely unknown but there are indications that it leads such a “double life”, because, for example, of the odd location of its eyes and its color; while flatfish are usually white on the belly, the Greenland halibut is all grey.

The tags must be small and light but also strong enough to withstand the pressure at the depth in which the Greenland halibut thrives.

“The tags have to survive the environment in which the halibut travels and be strong enough to withstand a depth of up to two kilometers,” managing director of Star-Oddi Sigmar Gudbjörnsson told Morgunbladid.

A number of halibuts have been tagged and released. The tags register data and will be returned by fishermen once the fish are caught. The first results are expected in two to four months.

The project is sponsored by the Nordic Council of Ministers. “It is rare that a company is given the task of directing such a project with so many efficient marine research institutions,” Gudbjörnsson said.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!