Peruvian Hake

(Merluccius gayi peruanus)

Merluza peruana (Spanish), Peru hake

1. What is it called?

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

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Peruvian hake is caught using demersal otter trawls, which deploy nets that are dragged along the sea bed at different depths. This type of trawling is known to damage the seabed; although the extent and impact of damage remains unknown. 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).

3. Where is it from?

Peruvian hake are found along the east coast of South America (FAO 41) and imported into South Africa. Management in this fishery is considered to be marginally effective as there is a recovery plan in place. However, the exact stock status remains unknown and fishing pressure remains high. A closed season and area restrictions are currently in place; the exact level of compliance is unknown. In addition, a small number of vessels are known to partake in Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing.