Information from FAO Species Identification Guide Western Central Atlantic

Silver hake - Merluccius bilinearis


silver hake


Diagnostic characters: Head length 24 to 27% of standard length; gill rakers long and pointed, 16 to 20 total on first arch.Second dorsal fin with 37 to 42 soft rays; anal fin with 37 to 42 soft rays. Scale rows 101 to 110 on lateral line. Total number of vertebrae 26 to 29. Colour: greyish dorsally, remaining areas silvery white.

 Size: Maximum length about 76 cm.

 Habitat, biology, and fisheries: Inhabits continental shelf depths from about 55 to 300 m, but also found in upper-slope waters to more than 900 m; occasionally strays into shallow coastal waters; seasonally migrates to shallower waters during warmer months, to deeper offshore waters in winter.Young of 1 to 3 years feed primarily on invertebrates (mostly crustaceans, especially euphausiids and pandalids); older fish feed mostly on fish and cephalopods; cannibalism significant and may regulate population of species. Spawning occurs in summer and early autumn and is highly dependent on water temperature. An important commercial fish in Area 21, but not found in significant quantities in Area 31. Marketed fresh, frozen, and smoked.

 Distribution: Atlantic coast of North America from Florida to Newfoundland.

 Remarks: Catch statistics may include mixture of silver and offshore hakes.