Biology and fisheries of the shallow-water hake (Merluccius capensis) and the deep-water hake (M. paradoxus) in Namibia

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Two hake species co‐occur along the Namibian coast: the shallow‐water hake (Merluccius capensis ) in 100–450‐m bottom depth and deep‐water hake (Merluccius paradoxus ) in 300–1000‐m bottom depth. They form Namibia's most valuable commercial fishery, contributing to half of the fisheries sector, which contributes about 5% to the gross domestic product. Since Namibian independence in 1990, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources implemented management measures to rebuild the resource. Measures include total allowable catch limits, restricting fishing to deeper than 200 m, minimum cod‐end mesh sizes of 110 mm, catch and discard monitoring, and more recently a closed season during October. Their combined annual catch was 125,000–159,000 t from 2008 to 2012. M. paradoxus usually makes up greater than 50% of the total annual catch of hakes. The M. capensis stock prefers two spawning centres: one in southern (26°–29°S) and another in central Namibia (21°–25°S). Spawning peaks occur in austral winter (June–August) and autumn (February/March). About 97% of the final value of the Namibian hake products is exported, mainly to Spain (61%), South Africa (16%), Italy, Portugal, France, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia, Democratic Republic of Congo and the United States (1–3% each). The von Bertalanffy growth parameters (combined sexes) for M. capensis used in the current stock assessment, estimated from otoliths, are as follows: ∞ = 149 cm; = 0.0609 per year; 0 = −1.28 year; and that for M. paradoxus are as follows: ∞ = 127 cm; = 0.0731 per year; 0 = −1.60 year. Recently, growth rates of ±1 cm/month were described for M. capensis independent of readings from otolith zonation.

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Hakes: biology and exploitation

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Book or Magazine Section