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Hake

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Offshore hake

Merluccius albidus

Method

Wild

Bottom trawl

Location

US Atlantic

Overall Rating

2.8 - 2.8 / 5

Summary

Silver and red hake are caught in the inshore waters of the US Atlantic. There is also a population of offshore hake in the US waters. All three species are caught using small-mesh bottom trawl. Peak landings for silver and offshore hake occurred in 1965 at 350,000 mt. Landings reached a low of 16,100 mt in 1981 and have declined by about half since then. Red hake landings reached a high in 1956 at 4,756 mt. Since 2002, red hake landings have not exceeded 1000 mt. Half the hake landed in the US is consumed domestically whereas the rest is exported. Silver hake is sold to the fresh market for local consumption. Offshore hake is larger and of a softer meat quality. It is usually sold for a lower price. Red hake does not store well, and consequently there is no developed market for red hake either domestically or internationally.

Hake are not particularly vulnerable to fishing as they grow quickly, are fast to mature, and are highly fecund. The stocks of silver and red hake are healthy as they are not in an overfished state, and overfishing is not occurring. The stock status of the offshore hake is unknown. Management of bycatch is highly effective as several measures have been taken to keep bycatch levels low enough so as to not affect groundfish stocks. Non-target species caught with hake include squids, Atlantic butterfish, and Atlantic mackerel. There is occasional bycatch of Atlantic white-sided dolphins. This is a moderate conservation concern.

The hake fishery uses modified bottom trawls. The modifications allow the trawlers to reduce contact with the bottom. Hake are fished over sandy and muddy bottoms. If contact with the ocean floor occurs, this type of substrate is more likely to recover quickly. Management is currently in the process of developing an ecosystem-based management strategy.

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Red hake

Urophycis chuss

Method

Wild

Bottom trawl

Location

US Atlantic

Overall Rating

3.1 / 5

Summary

Silver and red hake are caught in the inshore waters of the US Atlantic. There is also a population of offshore hake in the US waters. All three species are caught using small-mesh bottom trawl. Peak landings for silver and offshore hake occurred in 1965 at 350,000 mt. Landings reached a low of 16,100 mt in 1981 and have declined by about half since then. Red hake landings reached a high in 1956 at 4,756 mt. Since 2002, red hake landings have not exceeded 1000 mt. Half the hake landed in the US is consumed domestically whereas the rest is exported. Silver hake is sold to the fresh market for local consumption. Offshore hake is larger and of a softer meat quality. It is usually sold for a lower price. Red hake does not store well, and consequently there is no developed market for red hake either domestically or internationally.

Hake are not particularly vulnerable to fishing as they grow quickly, are fast to mature, and are highly fecund. The stocks of silver and red hake are healthy as they are not in an overfished state, and overfishing is not occurring. The stock status of the offshore hake is unknown. Management of bycatch is highly effective as several measures have been taken to keep bycatch levels low enough so as to not affect groundfish stocks. Non-target species caught with hake include squids, Atlantic butterfish, and Atlantic mackerel. There is occasional bycatch of Atlantic white-sided dolphins. This is a moderate conservation concern.

The hake fishery uses modified bottom trawls. The modifications allow the trawlers to reduce contact with the bottom. Hake are fished over sandy and muddy bottoms. If contact with the ocean floor occurs, this type of substrate is more likely to recover quickly. Management is currently in the process of developing an ecosystem-based management strategy.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Silver hake

Merluccius bilinearis

Method

Wild

Bottom trawl

Location

US Atlantic

Overall Rating

3.1 / 5

Summary

Silver and red hake are caught in the inshore waters of the US Atlantic. There is also a population of offshore hake in the US waters. All three species are caught using small-mesh bottom trawl. Peak landings for silver and offshore hake occurred in 1965 at 350,000 mt. Landings reached a low of 16,100 mt in 1981 and have declined by about half since then. Red hake landings reached a high in 1956 at 4,756 mt. Since 2002, red hake landings have not exceeded 1000 mt. Half the hake landed in the US is consumed domestically whereas the rest is exported. Silver hake is sold to the fresh market for local consumption. Offshore hake is larger and of a softer meat quality. It is usually sold for a lower price. Red hake does not store well, and consequently there is no developed market for red hake either domestically or internationally.

Hake are not particularly vulnerable to fishing as they grow quickly, are fast to mature, and are highly fecund. The stocks of silver and red hake are healthy as they are not in an overfished state, and overfishing is not occurring. The stock status of the offshore hake is unknown. Management of bycatch is highly effective as several measures have been taken to keep bycatch levels low enough so as to not affect groundfish stocks. Non-target species caught with hake include squids, Atlantic butterfish, and Atlantic mackerel. There is occasional bycatch of Atlantic white-sided dolphins. This is a moderate conservation concern.

The hake fishery uses modified bottom trawls. The modifications allow the trawlers to reduce contact with the bottom. Hake are fished over sandy and muddy bottoms. If contact with the ocean floor occurs, this type of substrate is more likely to recover quickly. Management is currently in the process of developing an ecosystem-based management strategy.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - Pacific hake mid-water trawl

Variety

North Pacific Hake

Merluccius productus

Method

Wild

Midwater trawl

Location

Washington, Oregon, California, British Columbia

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Pacific hake mid-water trawl

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

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Variety

White hake

Urophycis tenuis

Method

Wild

Bottom gillnet, Bottom longline, Bottom trawl

Location

Canada: Maritimes, Newfoundland, Labrador

Overall Rating

1.9 - 2.1 / 5

Summary

White hake have a history of being exploited throughout their geographical range. In 1995, a moratorium was established in the southern Gulf of St Lawrence which was experiencing declines in the population. Currently, white hake are targeted in Newfoundland and Labrador, and are retained as bycatch from groundfish fisheries in the Maritimes. Catches of white hake have historically peaked at 8000 mt for both the Maritimes and Newfoundland/Labrador. In 2013, 700 mt were caught in the Maritimes, and 354 mt in Newfoundland and Labrador. 41% of fisheries use bottom longlines, 33% use bottom gillnets, and 26% use bottom trawls. A market for Canadian hake exists in the US.

Management is considered to be moderately effective, although in order to ensure that catches do not increase, further precautionary measures could be taken. Despite low fishing levels, many populations of white hake have not yet recovered. White hake in the southern Gulf of St Lawrence are endangered according to COSEWIC, and threatened in the Maritimes, Newfoundland, and Labrador. White hake are being considered for listing under Canada’s Species At Risk Act. If listed, they will be federally protected.

All the gears used to catch white cause bycatch. The bycatch of the endangered Atlantic cod is of high concern, especially in the Maritimes. In addition to Atlantic cod, other species vulnerable to fishing pressure are also caught. These include leatherback turtles, marine mammals, cusk, wolfish and skates.

White hake are found in sandy and muddy habitats which are substrates that are resilient to physical disturbances. Bottom gillnets and bottom longlines cause minimal damage to the habitat, whereas bottom trawls cause moderate amounts of damage.

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Variety

White hake

Urophycis tenuis

Method

Wild

Bottom gillnet, Bottom longline, Bottom trawl

Location

US North Atlantic

Overall Rating

2.5 - 2.6 / 5

Summary

Atlantic cod have been targeted for 400 years and white hake, along with many New England groundfish species, have a history of being overexploited due to advances in industrial fishing. After the fishery collapsed in the 1980’s, management measures controlling bycatch and limiting quotas were introduced. Annual landings reached a low of 1,600 mt in the 1960’s, peaked in the 1990’s at 8,400 mt, and are now currently just under 2,000 mt.

White hake are managed by the NEFMC as part of the groundfish fishery. Fishery data as well as fishery independent data in the form of stock assessments are regularly collected. Scientific advice is generally followed when establishing regulations and quotas, although this is not always the case. Although management has rebuilt the white hake stock, improvements could be made regarding bycatch. The population status of white hake is healthy, according to the latest 2013 assessment.

Impact on other species differs according to the gear used. Otter trawls and bottom gillnets are nonspecific gear types, which catch a variety of bycatch. Of most concern is the white-sided dolphin caught by otter trawl, and the harbour porpoise caught by bottom gillnets which is a species of concern. Although more selective than bottom trawls and gillnets, bottom longlines cause the bycatch of the overfished Atlantic cod.

Bottom trawls have the potential to cause a moderate amount of habitat damage, whereas bottom longlines and bottom gillnets cause low amounts of damage. Handlines cause minimal habitat damage. Mitigation measures exist to limit habitat damage. The removal of white hake from the ecosystem is considered a moderately damaging to the ecosystem.

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Variety

Hake

Merluccius merluccius

Method

Wild

Longline

Location

CES sub-areas VI, VII and Divisions VIII a, b, d, e

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Grupo Regal Spain hake longline

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

South African hake

Merluccius paradoxxus, Merluccius capensis

Method

Wild

Bottom trawl

Location

South Atlantic Ocean

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
South Africa hake trawl

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Hake

Merluccius merluccius

Method

Wild

Bottom longline, Bottom trawl, Danish seine, Gillnet

Location

North Sea, Skagerrak & Kattegat

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
DFPO Denmark North Sea, Skagerrak & Kattegate hake

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods