Pacific hake mid-water trawl
Certified as sustainable on 21st October 2009.
Species: Pacific hake (Merluccius productus)
Location: US federal EEZ waters off Washington, Oregon and California and Canadian EEZ waters off the British Columbia coast.
Fishing methods: Mid-water Trawl.
Vessels: Approximately 75 vessels
Number of fisheries: 2
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More about Pacific hake
The Pacific hake (also known as the Pacific whiting) is migratory and inhabits the continental slope and shelf within the California current system from Baja California to Southeast Alaska. All life stages of the Pacific hake are found most frequently at depths between 100-150 metres with a temperature range of 9–15° C.
Eggs of the Pacific hake are neritic and float to neutral buoyancy with eggs and larvae of the coastal stock are pelagic in 40–140 m of water. Juveniles reside in shallow coastal waters, bays, and inland seas and move to deeper water as they get older.
The coastal stock of Pacific hake spawns from December through March, peaking in late January. Coastal stocks have 180–232 eggs/gram body weight, but Puget Sound and Strait of Georgia stocks have only 50–165 eggs/gram body weight. It was estimated that a 28-cm female had 39,000 eggs, while a 60-cm female had 496,000 eggs.
All life stages feed near the surface late at night and early in the morning. Juveniles and small adults feed chiefly on euphausiids. Large adults also eat amphipods, ocean shrimp, squid, herring, smelt, crabs, sometimes juvenile Pacific hake, and pelagic schooling fish (e.g., eulachon and herring).
The Pacific hake is unorthodox amongst the groundfishes because it is highly migratory, moving into many areas of the West Coast, including nearshore shelf, shelf break, and slope. Offshore stocks spawn off Baja California in the winter at depths exceeding 1000 mthen the mature adults begin moving northward and inshore, following food supply and Davidson currents. Pacific hake reach as far north as south eastern Alaska by late summer or fall. They then begin the southern migration to spawning grounds and further offshore.
More about the fishing methods
All Pacific hake are caught using pelagic trawl gear, and selectivities for these gears are largely determined by the spatial distribution of the stock relative to the spatial distribution of the fishing activities. Larger fish are primarily caught in Canadian waters, as larger hake have a tendency to migrate further north.
The 2009 TAC for the Pacific hakes fisheries are 48,061 metric tonnes in Canada and 135,939 metric tonnes on the Pacific US states of Washington and Oregon.
Pacific hake is used in producing a crab-flavored seafood made with surimi, a fully-cooked fish protein. More recently, it has filled an important market niche in the frozen fillet and block market. The product is sold internationally.
Actual eligibility date
The actual eligibility date for the Pacifc hake mid-water trawl fishery is the 1st October 2008.