Namibian Hake

(Merluccius spp.)

Stockfish, Stockvis, Merlu, Fishfingers, Haddock

1. What is it?

Shallow-water (Merluccius capensis) and deep-water (Merluccius paradoxus) hake are both caught in Namibia and South Africa. They are slow-growing fishes that live in shallow and deep water, respectively that sometimes overlap in range. Frequently sold in South Africa as Namibian Hake. Both species in Namibia are considered to be overfished due to the high fishing pressure.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Namibian Hake are fished using trawl nets that are dragged along the seabed at depths typically ranging from 110 m to 800 m (known as “demersal trawl nets”). This type of trawling is known to damage the seabed; the extent and impact of damage remains unknown. Trawling is not a very selective fishing method and a number of other species are often caught in the nets (fish, sharks and rays). Seabird interactions with trawl cables near the surface are also a major concern.

3. Where is it from?

Namibian Hake are typically fished off the continental shelf of Namibia. Due to the overlapping ranges the two species are managed as a single resource in the form of a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limit. Management is considered to be partly effective. The fishery is actively working to implement tori lines to deter seabird interactions. More management action is required to monitor and manage other ecosystem impacts (e.g. bycatch).