Peruvian Hake

(Merluccius gayi peruanus)

Merluza peruana (Spanish), Peru hake

1. What is it?

Peruvian hake (Merluccius gayi peruanus) are migratory, bottom-dwelling species with moderate resilience to high fishing pressure. The Peruvian hake stock is considered to be over-exploited, overfished and close to collapse. A recovery plan has been implemented and the stock is showing signs of recovery; however, biomass remains at very low levels.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Peruvian hake are caught using demersal otter trawls, which deploy nets that are dragged along the sea bed at different depths. Trawling is not a very selective fishing method and a number of juvenile Peruvian hake and other species are often caught in the nets (fish, sharks and rays). There is insufficient information available regarding the impact on birds and other endangered, threatened or protected species (ETP). This type of trawling is known to damage the seabed; although the extent and impact of damage remains unknown.

3. Where is it from?

Peruvian hake are caught along within the Peru EEZ (FAO 87) and imported into South Africa. Management in this fishery is considered to be marginally effective due to lack of information around the impact on ETP species and non-target species as well as poor levels of compliance. Some management measures are in place such as a closed season and area restrictions; however, their effectiveness remains unknown.