Fish and Game investigates spread of 'mushy halibut syndrome'

June 27, 2012 

Hanging halibut await filleting near Deep Creek.

KEVIN KLOTT / DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE

A condition that turns halibut meat into an oatmeal-like mush when it's cooked is being reported by fishermen throughout Cook Inlet, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game tells the Peninsula Clarion. The problem is not new but seems to be more common this summer. The cause is unknown. The meat is safe to eat and tastes OK, officials say.

Officials started receiving complaints about the condition again this year when the lower Peninsula halibut fishery started gearing up in late May. The reports are mostly limited to Cook Inlet waters -- reports aren't coming in from other halibut fishing grounds like the reefs near Montague Island, Prince William Sound or Nuka Bay located on the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula. Failor said a few reports have come in from Kodiak fishermen, but nothing to the scale of Cook Inlet.

Failor wouldn't venture a guess as to the rate at which the syndrome is affecting halibut. However, symptoms appear most often in small halibut between 15 and 20 pounds, she said.

Read more at the Peninsula Clarion: Fish and Game fields reports of mushy halibut

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