What kind of fish is always looking up? A Halibut.

Photo courtesy of ODFW

The first time you see a halibut could be a surprise. Halibut are flatfish with eyes on one side of their bodies and some are giant!

Things are looking up

Halibut don’t start out as a one-sided. As a larva, halibut have eyes on both sides of their head. As they begin to mature, their left eye migrates over their snout to the right side of their head. They begin swimming one-sided which facilitates living on or near the ocean floor. They are always looking up. Hunting.

But wait, there’s two

There are two varieties of halibut off the southern Oregon coast: California (Paralichthys californicus) sometimes known as California Flounder and Pacific (Hippoglossus stenolepis). The two are very different. If you pull in one that is over 30 lbs. there is a good chance that it is a Pacific.

What if they are smaller?

It gets harder to identify them when they are smaller. The easiest way to identify them is to compare the lateral line shape. Pacific halibuts have a straight lateral line; California have an arched that goes above the pectoral fin.

Halibut Comparison:

Let’s dive a little deeper for more comparisons.

–Oregon Dept. Fish and Wildlife, MyODFW (https://myodfw.com/articles/2019-halibut-newsletter#pacific)
–US Fish and Wildlife Service (https://myodfw.com/fishing/species/pacific-halibut   and /species/California-halibut)
–Wikipedia, Pacific Halibut (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_halibut)
–Fish Watcher (https://www.fishbase.in/summary/514)
–National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Studying bottom-dwelling fishes and crabs of the Eastern Bering Sea Shelf,” BobLauth(https://archive.fisheries.noaa.gov/afsc/Science_blog/EBS_6.htm)

Pacific Madrone – (Arbutus menziesii)

While traveling in coastal Oregon watch for a tree with red bark and broad evergreen leaves. This tree is a Pacific Madrone.

Various conifer trees dominate the Coastal range but if you look you will notice the Pacific Madrone. Madrone is a broadleaved evergreen tree and a member of the heath family (Ericaceae).

It is distinguished by its smooth trunk, orange-red bar that peels when the tree is mature. The peeling bark reveals a green satiny, smooth stem.

Seed & Blossoms

Pacific madrone will grow to a height of 125 feet tall and may grow up to 4 feet in diameter. At three to five years old, it will begin to produce seed.

Trees begin flowering in early spring, from mid-March to May, depending on the elevation. The bell-shaped blossoms are dense, drooping clusters (terminal panicles) of small, white flowers.

The fruit is a berry (0.3 to 0.5 inches), that ripens in the fall, turning from yellow-green to bright red or reddish-orange. The berries were used by wildlife and humans for food, decoration, fish bait, and medicine.

The wood is used for furniture, flooring, turnings, paneling, veneer for hardwood plywood faces and core stock, pulpwood, and firewood.

Links & References

To get a PDF fact sheet about the Pacific Madrone from Oregon Department of Forestry see: https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Documents/ForestBenefits/PacificMadrone.pdf

Sacred Trees

For some more cultural/spiritual thoughts about the Madrone see http://www.arbutusarts.com/sacred-trees.html

“On the British Columbia West Coast, the Salish Nation also honors the Arbutus Tree as their ‘Tree of Knowledge’ because it knows how to find the sun. It twists and turns and somehow knows to drop one branch when there is not enough sunlight and it is shaded and it will grow a new one where the sun can reach it.”

The Oregon Coast hospitality sector is at a pivotal moment. In partnership with the Lane County, Northwest, and Southwest Workforce Boards, we are diligently working on the Department of Labor Critical Jobs grant project. This initiative is designed to align our employment opportunities with the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Good Job Principles and to develop actionable solutions to the challenges faced by our industry. Your participation is crucial to our success.

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For employees, we have created a similar survey to capture insights across all levels of the workforce. Employers, please share this link with your employees: Employee Survey.

Here is a link to the ORLA page with the information