Northwest Fisheries Science Center

The Main Deck

Acoustic and trawl adventures in the Northeast Pacific

This portal tracks the research and sea-going activities of the Fisheries Engineering and Acoustic Technologies (FEAT) Team from NOAA¿s Northwest Fisheries Science Center.  Follow us as we use acoustics, trawling, and oceanographic sampling to learn about the Northeast Pacific Ocean.

Back deck of Bell M. Shimada
Acoustic echogram of hake
trawl catch

Why hake?

By Tom Holland and Sandy Parker-Stetter
February 5, 2016

After following the posts, you may be asking yourself (as the father of one of the crew members did), “Why do we care so much about hake?”  Pacific hake, or Pacific whiting, is an important, and valuable, commercial fish in both U.S. and Canadian waters.  It’s also an important fish in the ecology of the California Current Ecosystem.  Hake are caught by fishing vessels using large pelagic nets that are trawled up in the water and do not touch the bottom.  We are using a pelagic net (also referred to as a “midwater trawl”) for the winter hake survey.  The hake fishery is a very clean fishery and typical hauls contain 99% hake and 1% other species or bycatch.  Hake has many uses after it is caught - all parts of the hake are used and very little is wasted.  Even on this survey we are saving heads for research into turning them into feed for other animals!  Common products from the hake fishery include hake fillets, surimi, mince, fish meal, and fish oil.  Hake is a white fish that produces fillets similar to Alaskan pollock and cod, only smaller.  It can be breaded and fried.  Surimi is otherwise known as imitation crab and is used in sushi or other products. Mince is used to make pressed fish cakes and fish sticks.  You can also buy hake fish oil caplets as a supplement.  You’ve probably eaten hake without knowing it! 

Pacific hake going into the midwater trawl. Video credit NWFSC/FRAM/FEAT

Tagged: Winter hake survey

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