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Merluccius productus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII GADIFORMES MERLUCCIIDAE

Scientific Name: Merluccius productus
Species Authority: (Ayres, 1855)
Common Name(s):
English North Pacific Hake, Pacific Hake, Pacific Whiting, Whiting
French Merlu du Pacifique nord
Spanish Merluza, Merluza del Pacífico, Merluza del Pacífico norte, Merluza norteña, Merluzza pacifica norteamericana
Synonym(s):
Homalopomus trowbridgii Girard, 1856
Merlangus productus Ayres, 1855

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2008-05-01
Assessor(s): Iwamoto, T., Eschmeyer, W., Alvarado, J. & Bussing, W.
Reviewer(s): Carpenter, K., Polidoro, B. & Livingstone, S. (Global Marine Species Assessment Team)
Justification:
This species has a wide distribution, no major threats, and occurs in Marine Protected Areas. Therefore, it is listed as Least Concern. Monitoring for this species should be carried out.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The geographic range of this species in the eastern Pacific extends from Oregon to the Gulf of California. It is found also in Revillagigedo islands, and possibly into southern Mexico.
Countries:
Native:
Mexico; United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Pacific – eastern central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: No population data is available for this species.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This is a pelagic fish that inhabits oceanic and coastal areas, but is mainly found on the continental shelf and although often classified as demersal, the distribution and behavior suggest a largely pelagic existence. Adults live in large schools in waters overlying the continental shelf and slope, except during the spawning season when they are found several hundred miles seaward. It is found at depths from 12-1400 m. This species is a nocturnal feeder that preys on a variety of fishes and invertebrates (Cohen et al. 1990).

Growth is relatively fast, especially during the first four years and can live up to 15 years. It begins to mature at three years of age and most individuals are mature by four years and at about 35 to 42 cm total length.

This fish is a pelagic spawner, females laying, depending on their size, 80,000 to 500,000 eggs. Spawning occurs mainly in deep waters off southern California and Baja California in the winter and spring (from January to April or June). This hake migrates northward to southern Oregon in the summer and autumn (from July to September), and begins to return by December. The northward migration is accompanied by movement towards the shore and into shallower water, while the southward migration is accompanied by movement into deeper water and seaward (FAO-FIGIS, 2001).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is a valuable commercial fish, and has been highly exploited.
This is a highly commercial species used for fishmeal. The harvesting of this species is mainly in the USA, from 100,000 to 500,000 t. Since the inception of the USSR, (hake fisheries totaled 133,667 t in 1966) this species has been an important constituent of distant-water fisheries. Most of the US harvest was used for fish meal and pet food, while the Soviet harvest was frozen for human consumption as soon as they were caught (this hake tends to become soft and less palatable from two to four hours after being caught). The harvest reported to the FAO in 1995 totaled 177,117 t (all taken by the USA and almost exclusively from area 67, northeast Pacific). Since 1966, the harvests have had substantial decreases, in 1980 (57,086 t) and in 1991-92 (31,413 and 56,231 t). The total catch reported for this species to the FAO for 1999 was 217,000 t. The countries with the largest harvests were the USA (216,889 t) and Mexico (111 t).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In California the species has management plans. This species' distribution includes a number of Marine Protected Areas in the Pacific region.

Citation: Iwamoto, T., Eschmeyer, W., Alvarado, J. & Bussing, W. 2010. Merluccius productus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 02 September 2014.
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