Greenland halibut has snowy white meat and practically no risk of bones. The meat has a soft texture and a mild umami flavour.
The Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) is highly appreciated for its snowy-white meat with a delicate and soft texture. It is easy to cook with, recognised for its delicate flavour, and extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids, making it a much sought-after delicacy.
Greenland halibut products
The Greenland halibut is a truly versatile fish, where almost everything on the fish can be used. As a result, Royal Greenland has almost zero waste from its production and utilises over 90 % of the fish.
The fish is either sold whole or cut into fillets with or without skin, or into loins and portions. The other products, such as heads, tails and frills, are also cut and sold mainly in Asia, where e.g. the frills are considered to be a delicacy in Japanese sushi. The Greenland halibut is also used for the production of ready meals and smoked and marinated products.
Greenland halibut in the sea
Greenland halibut is found in the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean, from Canada in the west to Norway in the east. The Greenland halibut is a flatfish that is dark on the upper side and lighter on the belly. It has a set of sharp teeth for hunting its prey such as prawns, krill, capelin and redfish. The Greenland halibut is also known to prey on Atlantic cod, grenadier or squid. It lives near the bottom and prefers depths of 200-2,000 metres, where water temperatures remain below 4°C.
The species reaches sexual maturity at an age of around four to five years for the male and nine to ten years for the female. The fish living offshore migrate to the spawning grounds in September, and the spawning itself takes place in February and March, at depths of around 1,000-1,500 metres. The Davis Strait seems to be the most important spawning area. Greenland halibut living inshore in Western Greenland are thought not to spawn and remain inshore for the rest of their lives.
The stock in Western Greenland is considered to be healthy and stable.
Greenland halibut is fished all year round, both inshore and offshore, and Royal Greenland fishes for Greenland halibut throughout the North Atlantic. The fishing can be classed as offshore and inshore.
Inshore, the local fishermen prefer the longline, which is a set of 1,200-2,500 hooks mounted on a single line, for catching Greenland halibut. The longline ensures Greenland halibut of high quality, because the fish is unhooked by hand, with minimum damage to the delicate meat.
For offshore fishing of Greenland halibut, Royal Greenland fishes with trawl. The net itself is cone-shaped and designed to target Greenland halibut, with mesh sizes fitted to leave out juveniles. In addition, Royal Greenland supports the research and development of less invasive trawling methods, both for the seabed environment and with regard to the fishing vessels’ fuel consumption.
The processing of Greenland halibut begins at our Greenlandic factories and on board our vessels. The land-based factories are located as close to the harbour as possible, to provide the shortest route from sea to processing. At our land-based factories, the Greenland halibut is cut into different products, such as J-cut, fillets with and without skin, frills or head-on gutted. At sea, the two trawlers Sisimiut and Tuugalik are equipped to process the Greenland halibut as a J-cut before being frozen, or simply frozen as whole round fish.
After processing in our Greenlandic factories, the Greenland halibut is either sold to customers or shipped to one of our other factories for further processing.
In Poland, the fish is delivered either as fillets or head-on gutted. Here, the Greenland halibut is typically processed into smaller cuts such as loins and portions, or used in ready meals such as soups or breaded products.
In Denmark, the Greenland halibut is smoked both hot and cold as whole fillets, with skin or as portions. In China, the frills are processed for some of the world's finest sushi served in Japan.
Route to market
After processing, the Greenland halibut is shipped straight from our factories to the customer. The Greenland halibut is a popular fish and the demand is strong and stable. In Asia, the Greenland halibut is mainly sold as whole fish or with the guts removed. In Europe, the fish is most popular as fillets, loins or ready meals such as fish soups or breaded products.
Greenland halibut in the kitchen
The Greenland halibut has been a delicacy in Greenland for centuries, but has with good reason also won popularity around the world. It is easy to work with, almost impossible to overcook and works in numerous dishes. This makes the Greenland halibut an easily incorporated ingredient in cooking.
The texture of the flesh is soft and tender, with a bright white appearance both cooked and raw. In terms of flavour, the Greenland halibut offers a sweet and mild umami experience, which is complimented well by a slightly sour or bitter opponent, or by a touch of salt to enhance the umami and lessen the sweetness.
In terms of nutrition, the Greenland halibut offers a high content of healthy fat and omega-3 fatty acids, while also being a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin D, phosphorus and selenium.