Pacific hake fishery enters re-assessment

Pacific hake. Credit: Rick Starr/NOAA/CBNMS Pacific hake. Credit: Rick Starr/NOAA/CBNMS

The Pacific hake offshore fishery has entered assessment for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) re-certification.

The mid-water trawl fishery operates off the west coast of the United States and Canada and became MSC certified in 2009.

The management of the Pacific hake (also known as Pacific whiting) fishery is shared jointly by international agreement between the governments of Canada and the United States. A joint management committee recommends the annual Total Allowable Catch (TAC), while the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in the US and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in Canada are responsible for domestic management of their country’s fisheries.

The annual TAC for the Pacific hake fishery has a fixed allocation of 73.88% and 26.12% for the US and Canada, respectively. For 2013, the TAC has been set at 365,112 metric tons.

The client group has both US and Canadian participation. The US members, led by the Pacific Whiting Conservation Cooperative, represent virtually the entire onshore and at-sea hake processing sectors and the vessels that harvest the catch. The Canadian Client group is led by the Association of Pacific Hake Fishermen who represent the majority of the harvesting sector. 

The primary commercial markets for Pacific hake are Europe, Asia and North America and it is used in producing a variety of products including surimi and frozen fillet, dressed and whole fish block markets. 

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