Pacific Hake
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Scientific Name Merluccius productus
Conservation Status Data Defficient
Family Chordata
Habitat Northeast Pacific
Food Shrimp, Plankton, Small Fish

The North Pacific hake, Pacific hake, or Pacific whiting, Merluccius productus, is a merluccid hake of the genus Merluccius, found in the north east Pacific Ocean from northern Vancouver Island to the northern part of the Gulf of California.

They occur from the surface to depths of 1,000 m (3,300 ft). North Pacific hake are nocturnal feeders that undergo diel vertical migrations off the bottom in order to feed on a variety of fishes and invertebrates. Its diet includes shrimp, plankton and smaller fishes. They are an important prey item for sea lions, small cetaceans, and dogfish sharks.

There are three recognized stocks of Pacific hake: a highly migratory offshore (or coastal) stock that ranges from southern California to Queen Charlotte Sound, a central-south Puget Sound stock, and a Strait of Georgia (SOG) stock.

Overharvest is the main threat to North Pacific hake. The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service received a petition to list the North Pacific hake under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The petition was denied on 24 November 2000 (65 FR 70514) but concerns and uncertainties remained. During the review for ESA listing, The Georgia Basin Distinct Population Segment was identified to include both the Puget Sound and Strait of Georgia stocks. The Georgia Basin DPS of the North Pacific hake (called Pacific hake by NMFS) was made a U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service Species of Concern. Species of Concern are those species about which the U.S. Government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, has some concerns regarding status and threats, but for which insufficient information is available to indicate a need to list the species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

The expanding range of the Humboldt squid is also a cause for concern. Humboldt squid are voracious predators of hake and can substantially reduce their populations.

The recreational fishery for Puget Sound North Pacific hake is closed and there has been no directed commercial fishery on Puget Sound Pacific hake since 1991.

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