Merluccius merluccius (Linnaeus, 1758)

Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Gadiformes
Family: Merlucciidae

Catalan: lluç
English: European hake
French: merlu
Spanish: merluza europea

Demersal fish, distributed in the north-eastern Atlantic, from Norway and Iceland to Mauritania (70ºN-15ºN), and also in the Mediterranean Sea and along the southern coast of the Black Sea. It is distributed on the continental shelf and slope (between 30 and 1000 m depth), but usually it is found between 70 and 370 m depth. It lives close to the bottom during day-time, but moves off-bottom at night. Its maximum reported size and age is 140 cm total length and 20 years, respectively. Adults feed mainly on fish (small hakes, anchovies, pilchard, herrings, cod fishes, sardines and gadoid species) and squids. The young feed on crustaceans (especially euphausiids and amphipods).

In the western Mediterranean, it is one of the main target species of demersal fisheries, being mainly exploited by trawlers and, in some areas (e.g. Gulf of Lions), by bottom longlines and gill nets. The annual landings of hake in the western Mediterranean are roughly estimated at around 16000 tonnes.

Key references:

Alheit J. and T.J. Pitcher (editors). 1995.- Hake. Fisheries, ecology and markets. Fish and Fisheries Series 15. Chapman and Hall, London: 478 pp.

Cohen D.M., T. Inada, T. Iwamoto and N. Scialabba. 1990.- FAO species catalogue. Vol. 10. Gadiform fishes of the world (Order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis, 10 (125): 1-442.