Last updated on 26 October 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Merluccius productus

SPECIES NAME(s)

North Pacific hake

 

This fishery was recertified by the Marine Stewardship Council system in November 2014. Click here to link to the MSC fishery page and to learn more about the MSC fishery certification unit.


ANALYSIS

Strengths

Biomass remains well above the target level. External experts review the stock assessment. Since 2000 government fishery managers have kept catch quotas below the maximum acceptable biological harvest (the ABC) calculated by stock assessment scientists. Catches have remained below the target catch levels for over a decade. Reliance on midwater trawl gear limits impact on benthic habitat. The US and Canadian MSC certified components of the fishery met and closed all conditions of the first certification by the fourth surveillance audit. Two new conditions introduced during the fishery’s recertification in 2014, pertaining to information on retained and bycatch species, are on target as of the first surveillance audit in January 2016. The Pacific hake harvest strategy based on past management responses has been demonstrated to be effective and precautionary. Potential environmental impacts are considered to be low.

Biomass remains well above the target level. External experts review the stock assessment.. The stock assessment is reviewed by external experts. Since 2000 government fishery managers have kept catch quotas below the maximum acceptable biological harvest (the ABC) calculated by stock assessment scientists. Catches have remained below the target catch levels for over a decade. Reliance on midwater trawl gear limits impact on benthic habitat. The US and Canadian MSC certified components of the fishery met and closed all conditions of the first certification by the fourth surveillance audit. Two new conditions introduced during the fishery’s recertification in 2014, pertaining to information on retained and bycatch species, are on target as of the first surveillance audit in January 2016. The Pacific hake harvest strategy based on past management responses has been demonstrated to be effective and precautionary. Potential environmental impacts are considered to be low.

Weaknesses

Despite the re-evaluation of data sources and modeling approaches, there is still considerable uncertainty around the biomass estimates (particularly for the final years). In the Canadian fishery, information on the stock status of some main retained (e.g., Yellowtail Rockfish) and non-retained (e.g., Rougheye Rockfish) species is insufficient, prompting two new conditions to be opened during the fishery’s recertification in 2014.

Despite the re-evaluation of data sources and modeling approaches, there is still considerable uncertainty around the biomass estimates (particularly for the final years). Information on the stock status of some main retained (e.g., Yellowtail Rockfish) and non-retained (e.g., Rougheye Rockfish) species in the Canadian fishery is insufficient, prompting two new conditions to be opened during the fishery’s recertification in 2014.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

10

Managers Compliance:

10

Fishers Compliance:

10

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

10

Future Health:

7.9


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS

1. Work actively to address and close out conditions placed upon the certification of the fishery in the agreed timeframe.
2. Report achievements publicly to share progress with buyers.

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN

1. Monitor the progress in closing out conditions placed upon the certification of the fishery and if agreed timelines are met.
2. Express your support to help meet conditions that may be at a government/regulatory level (where applicable).


FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

  • Pacific Hake Mid Water Trawl:

    MSC Recertified

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
NE Pacific W. Coast US and Canada Canada Midwater trawls
United States Midwater trawls

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 26 October 2016

Strengths

Biomass remains well above the target level. External experts review the stock assessment. Since 2000 government fishery managers have kept catch quotas below the maximum acceptable biological harvest (the ABC) calculated by stock assessment scientists. Catches have remained below the target catch levels for over a decade. Reliance on midwater trawl gear limits impact on benthic habitat. The US and Canadian MSC certified components of the fishery met and closed all conditions of the first certification by the fourth surveillance audit. Two new conditions introduced during the fishery’s recertification in 2014, pertaining to information on retained and bycatch species, are on target as of the first surveillance audit in January 2016. The Pacific hake harvest strategy based on past management responses has been demonstrated to be effective and precautionary. Potential environmental impacts are considered to be low.

W. Coast US and Canada
United States
Midwater trawls

Last updated on 26 October 2016

Biomass remains well above the target level. External experts review the stock assessment.. The stock assessment is reviewed by external experts. Since 2000 government fishery managers have kept catch quotas below the maximum acceptable biological harvest (the ABC) calculated by stock assessment scientists. Catches have remained below the target catch levels for over a decade. Reliance on midwater trawl gear limits impact on benthic habitat. The US and Canadian MSC certified components of the fishery met and closed all conditions of the first certification by the fourth surveillance audit. Two new conditions introduced during the fishery’s recertification in 2014, pertaining to information on retained and bycatch species, are on target as of the first surveillance audit in January 2016. The Pacific hake harvest strategy based on past management responses has been demonstrated to be effective and precautionary. Potential environmental impacts are considered to be low.

Weaknesses

Despite the re-evaluation of data sources and modeling approaches, there is still considerable uncertainty around the biomass estimates (particularly for the final years). In the Canadian fishery, information on the stock status of some main retained (e.g., Yellowtail Rockfish) and non-retained (e.g., Rougheye Rockfish) species is insufficient, prompting two new conditions to be opened during the fishery’s recertification in 2014.

W. Coast US and Canada
United States
Midwater trawls

Last updated on 26 October 2016

Despite the re-evaluation of data sources and modeling approaches, there is still considerable uncertainty around the biomass estimates (particularly for the final years). Information on the stock status of some main retained (e.g., Yellowtail Rockfish) and non-retained (e.g., Rougheye Rockfish) species in the Canadian fishery is insufficient, prompting two new conditions to be opened during the fishery’s recertification in 2014.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 12 October 2016

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

1. Work actively to address and close out conditions placed upon the certification of the fishery in the agreed timeframe.
2. Report achievements publicly to share progress with buyers.

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain

1. Monitor the progress in closing out conditions placed upon the certification of the fishery and if agreed timelines are met.
2. Express your support to help meet conditions that may be at a government/regulatory level (where applicable).

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 26 October 2016

Pacific whiting (or Pacific hake) stock assessments are conducted by a U.S.-Canadian Joint Technical Committee. A number of models have been applied, but in recent years a Stock Synthesis (SS) model, the latest iteration of a large, complex tool developed for assessments of all groundfish species along the West Coast of the United States, has been applied in addition to one or more alternative models. The model and methods of the assessment are regularly reviewed by a panel of U.S. and Canadian scientists to identify and resolve problems and areas of uncertainty (Hicks et al., 2013). For the 2014 assessment, the Joint Technical Committee changed the structural form of the base SS model to include time-varying fishery selectivity (Taylor et al., 2014), and this feature was retained for 2015. The 2015 base model is effectively an update of the2014 base model with no major changes (Taylor et al. 2015).

Uncertainty has generally been reported as large, due mainly to unreliable recruitment estimation prior to age 2 (Hicks et al., 2013; Taylor et al. 2015) and in part to problems with acoustic survey data. Particularly in 2009, survey data suffered from difficulties in acoustically distinguishing whiting from Jumbo flying squid (Humboldt squid), and age-composition data are thought to be biased (Martell, 2010). Volatile and poorly estimated recruitment, along with time-varying selectivity in the fishery cause estimates of current stock status and projections of the stock trajectory to be highly uncertain. Results from assessments have differed considerably from year to year. The 2013-2015 assessments have resulted in slight upwards revisions of the spawning biomass series, with the exception of the two recent years in the 2015 assessment, and consistent downwards revisions of fishing intensity.

Some conservation NGOs (Monterey Bay Aquarium and others) have objected the pacific whiting fishery certification by the Marine Stewardship Council, arguing that removals are excessive.

W. Coast US and Canada
United States
Midwater trawls

Last updated on 26 October 2016

Pacific whiting stock assessments are based on the Stock Synthesis II (SSII) model, the latest iteration of a large, complex tool developed for assessments of all groundfish species along with West Coast of the United States. Both U.S. and Canadian scientists contribute to the assessment, and their annual report on the stock status is used by managers to decide catch quotas for their respective fleets. The model and methods of the assessment are regularly reviewed by external scientists to identify and resolve problems and areas of uncertainty. Simulations for a 2006 review of the harvest policy noted that it could produce “a potential problem for short-lived species with high recruitment variability, such as Pacific whiting.” The policy “was predicted to lead to frequent cases in which the stock drops below the overfished threshold of B25% even if F40% is the appropriate harvest rate on average.”(Draft Report of the Groundfish Harvest Policy Evaluation Workshop, Dec. 18-20, 2006, PFMC).

Some conservation NGOs (Monterey Bay Aquarium and others) objected to the fishery’s potential certification by the Marine Stewardship Council, arguing that removals are excessive.

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 26 October 2016

Acceptable Biological Catches (ABCs) were previously defined in the assessments as upper harvest limits and from 2002 recommended catches have been set at considerably more precautionary levels. In spite of this, fishing intensity has in retrospect frequently exceeded its target level in recent years, due to uncertainty in the assessment and projections. Calculation of ABCs has now been replaced by application of the 40:10 harvest control rule. An informal ABC for 2011 was provided in the stock assessment for that year, based on the control rule. The value was 757,738 tonnes, relatively large when compared with recent years’ catches (Stewart and Forrest, 2011), and representing an increase of 302,188 tonnes from the 2010 adopted ABC (455,550 tonnes). Since 2011, the recommended catch based on the harvest control rule has fluctuated considerably, due to uncertainties in the stock assessment and in the biomass estimates. For 2015, and given the stock was estimated in a good condition, the median ABC is 804,580 tonnes, but the range of uncertainty is high (Taylor et al. 2015).

Projections are presented as a decision table for multiple management options, and these indicate that for all 2015 catch levels above 180,000 tonnes, the SSB is expected to decline by 2016 (>68% probability, or >71% based on a model fit with alternative survey indices in 2012 and 2013). However, the probability of dropping below B10% is 1% or less for catches up to 804,576 tonnes. Following the F40% default harvest rate and 40:10 harvest control rule would imply a decrease in the stock size with a calculated 95% probability, but the probabilities of dropping to below the target (SB40%) and the minimum threshold (SB25%) are only 21% and 6%, respectively (Taylor et al., 2015).

Reference Points

Last updated on 26 Oct 2016

The unexploited equilibrium spawning biomass SB0 estimated in the 2015 assessment was 2.269 million tonnes (95% confidence interval: 1.83 – 2.90 million tonnes), a 6% increase on 2014’s estimate, although the uncertainty is broad. SB40% has previously been used as a proxy for the MSY target biomass and is estimated at 907 thousand tonnes, with the minimum biomass threshold (B25%) estimated at 567,000 tonnes (Taylor et al. 2015). Fishing intensity (F) is expressed as a relative spawning potential ratio (1-SPR/1-SPRTarget=0.4), and compared to the target FSPR=40%, used as a proxy of FMSY (PFMC 2014).

MSY reference points have been determined in addition to the MSY proxy SB40% points. SBMSY was estimated as 561 thousand tonnes and MSY as 384 thousand tonnes (Taylor et al. 2015).

W. Coast US and Canada
United States
Midwater trawls

Last updated on 26 October 2016

Acceptable Biological Catches (ABCs) were previously defined in the assessments as upper harvest limits and from 2002 recommended catches have been set at considerably more precautionary levels. In spite of this, fishing intensity has in retrospect frequently exceeded its target level in recent years, due to uncertainty in the assessment and projections. Calculation of ABCs has now been replaced by application of the 40:10 harvest control rule. An informal ABC for 2011 was provided in the stock assessment for that year, based on the control rule. The value was 757,738 tonnes, relatively large when compared with recent years’ catches (Stewart and Forrest, 2011), and representing an increase of 302,188 tonnes from the 2010 adopted ABC (455,550 tonnes). Since 2011, the recommended catch based on the harvest control rule has fluctuated considerably, due to uncertainties in the stock assessment and in the biomass estimates. For 2015, and given the stock was estimated in a good condition, the median ABC is 804,580 tonnes, but the range of uncertainty is high (Taylor et al. 2015).

Projections are presented as a decision table for multiple management options, and these indicate that for all 2015 catch levels above 180,000 tonnes, the SSB is expected to decline by 2016 (>68% probability, or >71% based on a model fit with alternative survey indices in 2012 and 2013). However, the probability of dropping below B10% is 1% or less for catches up to 804,576 tonnes. Following the F40% default harvest rate and 40:10 harvest control rule would imply a decrease in the stock size with a calculated 95% probability, but the probabilities of dropping to below the target (SB40%) and the minimum threshold (SB25%) are only 21% and 6%, respectively (Taylor et al., 2015).

Reference Points

Last updated on 26 Oct 2016

The unexploited equilibrium spawning biomass SB0 estimated in the 2015 assessment was 2.269 million tonnes (95% confidence interval: 1.83 – 2.90 million tonnes), a 6% increase on 2014’s estimate, although the uncertainty is broad. SB40% has previously been used as a proxy for the MSY target biomass and is estimated at 907 thousand tonnes, with the minimum biomass threshold (B25%) estimated at 567,000 tonnes (Taylor et al. 2015). Fishing intensity (F) is expressed as a relative spawning potential ratio (1-SPR/1-SPRTarget=0.4), and compared to the target FSPR=40%, used as a proxy of FMSY (PFMC 2014).

MSY reference points have been determined in addition to the MSY proxy SB40% points. SBMSY was estimated as 561 thousand tonnes and MSY as 384 thousand tonnes (Taylor et al. 2015).

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 26 October 2016

According to the latest stock assessment the stock biomass has decreased slightly, but is above it’s target reference point (B40%), and fishing intensity is below target levels. Spawning stock biomass (SSB) was estimated in 2014 at around 1.70 million tonnes, i.e., at 75% of estimated unfished spawning biomass (SB0). SSB for 2015 is also forecasted well above target levels (median of forecast for SSB2014) is 1.72 million tonnes). Fishing intensity in 2014 was determined to be at 62% of the target FSPR=40%. However, as in previous years, there still remains considerable uncertainty on the assessment estimates, in particular for the most recent years (Taylor et al. 2015).

Recruitment for this stock is highly variable, resulting in considerable and rapid variations in stock biomass. The current assessment estimates the stock remains near its highest biomass level since the early 1990’s, resulting from an above average 2008 cohort, and a very large 2010 cohort (Taylor et al. 2015).

Trends

Last updated on 26 Oct 2016

The stock declined to its previous lowest recent level in 2000, then rebounded in 2003 as a strong 1999 year class matured, before declining to a new record low in 2009, owing to a period of low recruitment from 2000 to 2007. An increase in stock biomass is estimated to be have occurred through 2014, mostly related to an above average 2008 cohort and a very large 2010 cohort. Large recruiting classes were also generated in 1980, 1984, and 1999 (Taylor et al. 2015).

Fishing intensity is estimated to have been below the proxy target of F40% until recently, when the target was likely exceeded in 2008, 2010 and 2011, even though catch limits based on knowledge at the time were not exceeded in any of these cases. Since 2010, fishing intensity is estimated to have steadily decreased, and is currently estimated at well below the management target (Taylor et al. 2015).

W. Coast US and Canada
United States
Midwater trawls

Last updated on 26 October 2016

According to the latest stock assessment the stock biomass has decreased slightly, but is above it’s target reference point (B40%), and fishing intensity is below target levels. Spawning stock biomass (SSB) was estimated in 2014 at around 1.70 million tonnes, i.e., at 75% of estimated unfished spawning biomass (SB0). SSB for 2015 is also forecasted well above target levels (median of forecast for SSB2014) is 1.72 million tonnes). Fishing intensity in 2014 was determined to be at 62% of the target FSPR=40%. However, as in previous years, there still remains considerable uncertainty on the assessment estimates, in particular for the most recent years (Taylor et al. 2015).

Recruitment for this stock is highly variable, resulting in considerable and rapid variations in stock biomass. The current assessment estimates the stock remains near its highest biomass level since the early 1990’s, resulting from an above average 2008 cohort, and a very large 2010 cohort (Taylor et al. 2015).

Trends

Last updated on 26 Oct 2016

The stock declined to its previous lowest recent level in 2000, then rebounded in 2003 as a strong 1999 year class matured, before declining to a new record low in 2009, owing to a period of low recruitment from 2000 to 2007. An increase in stock biomass is estimated to be have occurred through 2014, mostly related to an above average 2008 cohort and a very large 2010 cohort. Large recruiting classes were also generated in 1980, 1984, and 1999 (Taylor et al. 2015).

Fishing intensity is estimated to have been below the proxy target of F40% until recently, when the target was likely exceeded in 2008, 2010 and 2011, even though catch limits based on knowledge at the time were not exceeded in any of these cases. Since 2010, fishing intensity is estimated to have steadily decreased, and is currently estimated at well below the management target (Taylor et al. 2015).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 26 October 2016

The stock is jointly managed by Canada and the U.S. since 2006 under a formalized bilateral Hake Agreement and its constituent committees (Hicks et al., 2013).

In order that the fishery comply with rockfish bycatch limits, managers have maintained total Optimum Yield (OY) far below the recommended ABC. In the past, the coastwide OY represented managers’ judgment of an appropriate harvest level for U.S. and Canadian harvests combined and could be seen as a TAC (Devitt et al., 2009), but from 2012 it is explicitly referred to as a TAC. Actual catches have been constrained below this level by bycatch limits that protect depleted rockfish stocks. The OY for 2009, set at 184,000 tonnes, was down almost 50% from 2008 levels. In 2010, OY was increased to 262,500 tonnes and increased again in 2011 to 393,751 tonnes. The coastwide adjusted TAC adopted for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Pacific whiting fisheries was set at 251,809, 365,112 and 428,000 tonnes, respectively (Taylor et al., 2014; JMC, 2014; NOAA, 2014a). For 2015, the TAC has been increased just slightly to 440,000 tonnes (Taylor et al. 2015).

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 26 Oct 2016

None are currently required under management policy. Should the stock drop below 25% of virgin biomass, it would be legally defined as “overfished”, triggering a recovery plan to accelerate rebuilding. The agreed Harvest Control rule, also anticipates a gradual decrease in catch from the catch target at SSB at B40% (or above), to zero catch at SSB= B10% or below (Taylor et al., 2014).

W. Coast US and Canada
United States
Midwater trawls

Last updated on 26 October 2016

The stock is jointly managed by Canada and the U.S., since 2006 under a formalized bilateral Hake Agreement and its constituent committees (Hicks et al., 2012).

In order that the fishery complies with rockfish bycatch limits, managers have maintained total Optimum Yield (OY) far below the recommended ABC. In the past, the coastwide OY represented managers’ judgment of an appropriate harvest level for U.S. and Canadian harvests combined and could be seen as a TAC (Devitt et al., 2009), but from 2012 it is explicitly referred to as a TAC. Actual catches have been constrained below this level by bycatch limits that protect depleted rockfish stocks. The OY for 2009, set at 184,000 tons, was down almost 50% from 2008 levels. In 2010, OY was increased to 262,500 tons and increased again in 2011 to 393,751 tons. The TAC adopted for the 2012 pacific whiting fisheries was set at 251,809 tons (Hicks et al., 2013).

A harvest control rule (the “40:10 HCR”) has been used in setting the OY since 1999. This sets the target at B40%, decreases exploitation at lower biomass levels, and would ban fishing if biomass were to decline to B10% (Stewart and Hamel, 2010). Simulations for a 2006 review of the harvest policy noted that it could produce “a potential problem for short-lived species with high recruitment variability, such as Pacific whiting.” The policy “was predicted to lead to frequent cases in which the stock drops below the overfished threshold of B25% even if F40% is the appropriate harvest rate on average.” (Draft Report of the Groundfish Harvest Policy Evaluation Workshop, Dec. 18-20, 2006, PFMC). Managers may now override this rule upon scientific advice (Stewart et al., 2012). A Management Strategy Evaluation was initiated in 2012 as requested under the Marine Stewardship Council’s certification of part of the fishery (Pederson et al., 2012). Preliminary results indicate increasing the frequency of surveys from biennial to annual would not show great improvements, but it is noted that the sources of uncertainty considered are likely to be underrepresented (Hicks et al., 2013).

Minimum mesh sizes and area and season restrictions are also used as management measures, and in the U.S., a limited entry program operates (NMFS, 2010).

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 26 Oct 2016

None required. Should the stock drop below 25% of virgin biomass,it would be legally defined as “overfished,” triggering a recovery plan to accelerate rebuilding.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 26 October 2016

A U.S.-Canada allocation dispute during the 1990s resulted in catches exceeding set quotas (e.g., 1993-1999 catches were 7% above quota, on average) and the two nations began work on a catch-sharing arrangement. This led to a 2003 treaty that divides the harvest as follows: 73.88% U.S., 26.12% Canada. Over the past decade, catches have been generally below the coast-wide catch targets (Taylor et al., 2015). The Canadian management system allow a 15% difference between the quota and total catch, which is then deducted from or carried over to the quota for the following year. In 2012 and 2013, a 15% overage allowance was added due to respective annual quotas not having been fully taken (Hicks et al. 2013). An additional 50,430 tonnes coast-wide allowance (carryover from 2013: 37,258 tonnes added to the US share, and 13,272 tonnes added to the Canadian share) was added to the 2014 quota (JMC 2014); for 2015 an extra 14,793 tonnes and 41,842 tonnes will be added to the Canadian and US shares respectively, for a total 66,635 additional tonnes coast-wide allowance (JMC 2015).

Pacific hake (whiting) discards are not thought to be significant (Stewart and Hamel, 2010), with discards from all fisheries estimated to be less than 1% of landings in recent years (Taylor et al., 2015). Monitoring of these fisheries (either by on-board observers, at-sea electronic monitoring or dockside monitoring) is very strong.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 26 October 2016

The whiting fishery has few known impacts of significance upon marine mammals. Some biologists and conservationists have speculated that the fishery, by reducing abundance of the stock to approximately MSY levels, may have deprived marine mammals and other predator species of food. The EIS for 2007-2008 groundfish fisheries comments on this potential: “Based on the observation that most resident or migratory marine mammal populations in the California Current have been increasing at modest to substantial rate over the past several decades (including California sea lions, harbor seals, elephant seals, gray whales, and humpback whales), it is similarly difficult to expect that the cumulative impacts of fishing have been detrimental for these guilds (independent of the incidental mortality resulting from fishing activity).”

In the US, NMFS is currently analyzing data on interactions of the groundfish fishery, of which the whiting fishery is part, and marine mammals and seabirds. The most recent assessment indicated that from 2002-2009 incidental takes of marine mammals, seabirds, and turtles occurred on less than 2% of the fishing trips. Although bycatch events for these groups were considered “rare”, they could be important for highly endangered or long-long-lived species (Jannot et al., 2011). For the Canadian fishery, data from DFO for 2006-2011 indicated only two interactions with marine mammals, out of 6,265 hake tows (Devitt et al., 2011). The most recent surveillance MSC report denoted that based on the available information, the fishery impacts on the ecosystem structure within key fishery areas were negligible (Pederson et al., 2013).

Other Species

Last updated on 26 October 2016

Total bycatch in the fishery has averaged one to two percent from 1995 to 2004, according to an analysis prepared by the Pacific Whiting Conservation Cooperative, an industry group. Discard Primary species of concern include Chinook salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act and several species of rockfish (e.g., widow rockfish) that are considered overfished.

From 2009, bycatch limits started to be allocated by sector in the U.S. fishery. Rockfish bycatch in some years has constrained the whiting fishery’s access to the target species, keeping catches below otherwise-allowable levels. For chinook salmon, bycatch has been well below this limit in most years. Should bycatch exceed this threshold, consultations are initiated to determine impacts and consider mitigation measures. In Canada, main retained bycatch species are also subject to catch limits; however, in some cases the status of the stocks against reference points is unknown (e.g., Rougheye Rockfish), and impacts of the fishery on these species cannot be fully evaluated (Pederson et al., 2014). Two conditions were established during the MSC’s recertification of the fishery (certification is held by the Pacific Whiting Conservation Cooperative and the Oregon Trawl Commission) regarding insufficient information to assess and ensure outcomes for Yellowtail Rockfish, Redstripe Rockfish, Walleye Pollock and Rougheye Rockfish (Pederson et al. 2014). Progress on these conditions was considered on target as of the first surveillance audit in January 2016 (Pederson et al. 2016).

A 100% at-sea-monitoring system is in place for on at-sea processors and catcher vessels, in both the Canadian and US hake fisheries. Fishing vessels are also subject to a 100% dockside catch monitoring. Other management measures such as minimum mesh sizes, closed periods and areas have also been put in place to reduce bycatch of unwanted species and sizes (PFMC 2014; Taylor et al. 2014).

HABITAT

Last updated on 26 October 2016

The MSC assessment team found that reliance on midwater trawl gear limits impacts on benthic habitat. However, some conservation groups disputed the efficacy of midwater trawls in protecting living structure on the seabed (Cassano, 2009), and they are challenging the view that this fishery has minimal impact. According to recent formal surveys conducted to both Canadian and US hake fishermen, bottom contact occurs generally in less than 10% (median) of the tows conducted, and over muddy/sandy bottom (Pedersen et al., 2013).

Indirect impacts on the ecosystem (e.g. prey competition with marine mammals) was considered and judged unlikely by authors of the 2007-2008 Environmental Impact Statement for this fishery and other groundfish fisheries in the region, because most marine mammal populations have been increasing. More recently, a MSC surveillance report noted that that, based on the available data on the indirect effects of the removal of pacific hake, the fishery has negligible impacts on the ecosystem structure and functioning “within key fishing areas” (Pedersen et al., 2013). Both the U.S. and Canada are moving towards integrated ecosystem-based management, considering ecosystem-wide inputs and impacts (e.g. el Niño effects, fishing impacts on sensitive habitats, bycatch of vulnerable species) in their management strategy (Devitt et al., 2011; Levin & Schwing, 2011).

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 26 Oct 2016

Area and temporal restrictions on fishing are in place, aimed at reducing the bycatch of Chinook salmon and depleted rockfish and at minimizing habitat impacts. No trawling is allowed in the Klamath and Columbia River Conservation zones in order to reduce salmon bycatch (PFMC, 2005) and catches are limited in the Eureka INPFC area (Stewart et al., 2012). Processing and night fishing is also restricted in some areas off the US coast (Taylor et al., 2014).

Trawl fishing is forbidden in a number of Rockfish and Cowcod Conservation Areas off the U.S. Pacific coast, aimed at protecting these depleted species (NMFS, 2014). Fifty U.S. areas are closed to bottom trawling (34) or bottom-contacting gear (16) in order to mitigate habitat impacts (PFMC, 2014). Bottom trawling is not permitted in Canada’s 164 Rockfish Conservation Areas (Pedersen et al., 2012) and closures protect coral, sponge reef and tideline areas (Devitt et al., 2009). Two Marine Protected Areas also exist under Canada’s jurisdiction: Bowie Seamount and the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents, to protect the marine biodiversity associated with these structures (DFO, 2008).

W. Coast US and Canada
United States
Midwater trawls

Last updated on 26 October 2016

The MSC assessment team found that reliance on midwater trawl gear limits impacts on benthic habitat. However, some conservation groups dispute the efficacy of midwater trawls in protecting living structure on the seabed (Cassano 2009), and they are challenging the view that this fishery has minimal impact.

The MSC team noted that in the United States portion of the fishery, habitat protection policies include a Pacific Fishery Management Council goal to “prevent, to the extent practicable, any net loss of the habitat of living marine resources.” An objective meant to help reach this goal calls for describing and identifying Essential Fish Habitat and adopting management measures that minimize impacts on it from fishing, to the extent practicable.

The MSC team noted that in Canada “management strategies for groundfish fisheries are now directed at reducing bycatch of vulnerable species and minimizing adverse effect of fishing on sensitive benthic habitats through area closures (particularly for the trawl fishery in Eastern Queen Charlotte Sound and Hecate Strait) and via the creation of Rockfish Conservation Areas in coastal British Columbia.”

As mentioned above, hypothesized prey competition with marine mammals was considered and judged unlikely by authors of the 2007-2008 Environmental Impact Statement for this fishery and other groundfish fisheries in the region, because most marine mammal populations have been increasing. To ensure that ecosystem impacts are carefully managed, a client action plan described by 2009 MSC assessment authors requires the certification clients to provide a report within two years “that synthesizes the results of existing ecosystem models as they relate specifically to the removal of hake from the ecosystem. A subsequent report will be delivered to the certifier within four years that will include a list of potential ecological impacts (if any), assessments of their magnitude, and a qualitative estimate of the significance of each impact. In the event that unacceptable impacts are established, the clients will lobby PFMC, NMFS and DFO for appropriate change to mitigate these impacts.”

FishSource Scores

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2016 data.

The score is 10.0.

This measures the F at low biomass as a percentage of the F management target.

The F at low biomass is 0.00 (from management plan). The F management target is 1.00 .

The underlying F at low biomass/F management target for this index is 0.00%.

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is 10.0.

This measures the Set TAC as a percentage of the ABC.

The Set TAC is 440 ('000 t). The ABC is 805 ('000 t) .

The underlying Set TAC/ABC for this index is 54.7%.

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is 10.0.

This measures the Catch as a percentage of the Set TAC.

The Catch is 191 ('000 t). The Set TAC is 440 ('000 t) .

The underlying Catch/Set TAC for this index is 43.3%.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2016 data.

The score is 10.0.

This measures the SSB as a percentage of the 40%B0.

The SSB is 1830 ('000 t). The 40%B0 is 961 ('000 t) .

The underlying SSB/40%B0 for this index is 190%.

As calculated for 2016 data.

The score is 7.9.

This measures the Ratio F/F40% as a percentage of the F management target.

The Ratio F/F40% is 1.02 . The F management target is 1.00 .

The underlying Ratio F/F40%/F management target for this index is 102%.

To see data for biomass, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for fishing mortality, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for stock status, please view this site on a desktop.
DATA NOTES
Notes: 1) F40%, based on the Harvest Control Rule (HCR) in place and used as a proxy of FMSY for this fishery (PFMC, 2008). But for scores calculation purposes, fishing intensity, F, is expressed as the relative spawning potential ratio (1-SPR/1-SPRTarget=0.4). 2) F10% (or Fat low biomass)=0 is also based on the HCR in place and expressed as the fishing intensity associated with biomass levels of 10% of B0. 3) Allowable Biological Catch (ABC) is presented as a proxy for Advised TAC up to 2011. From 2012, ABCs have no longer been determined and Advised TAC is based on the default harvest rate determined by the harvest control rule. 4) The Optimum Yield (harvest target) up to 2011 was taken as the set TAC for plots and scores calculation. From 2012, an explicit TAC has been set.

Download Source Data

Registered users can download the original data file for calculating the scores after logging in. If you wish, you can Register now.

Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

SELECT MSC

NAME

Pacific Hake Mid Water Trawl

STATUS

MSC Recertified on 25 November 2014

SCORES

Principle Level Scores:

Principle Score US Score Canada
Principle 1 – Target Species 88.9 88.9
Principle 2 - Ecosystem 97.7 91.3
Principle 3 – Management System 100 100

Certification Type: Silver

Sources

Credits

This profile was prepared by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.

Bibliography and other sources:

Cassano, E, Supplemental comments regarding Pacific hake objection, July 8, 2009, letter to Michael Lodge, Independent Adjudicator, Marine Stewardship Council, MSC 2009.

Dorn, M. et al, workshop participants, Report of the Groundfish Harvest Policy Evaluation Workshop, La Jolla CA Dec 18-20, 2006, workshop sponsored by the Scientific and Statistical Committee of the Pacific Fishery Management Council.

  1. Devitt, S., M. Stocker, J. Collie, M. Pedersen, 2010. Surveillance Report Pacific Hake Midwater Trawl Fishery. Moody Marine Ltd.http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/certified/pacific/pacific-hake-mid-water-trawl/assessment-downloads-1/11.01.2011_Surveillance_2010_US_Can_Pac_Whiting_Report.pdf
  2. Devitt, Steven, Stocker, Max, Collie, Jeremy and Pedersen, Mark, 2009. Public Certification Report for the Pacific Hake (Merluccius productus) Mid-Water Trawl Fishery: US (WOC) Pacific EEZ and Canadian Pacific EEZ Waters.http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/certified/pacific/pacific-hake-mid-water-trawl/assessment-downloads-1/13.10.2009-pacific-hake-pcr.pdf
  3. Devitt, Steven, Stocker, Max, Collie, Jeremy and Pedersen, Mark, 2011. Surveillance Report for the Pacific hake midwater trawl fishery. Intertek Moody Marine Ltd. September 2011. 39 pp.http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/certified/pacific/pacific-hake-mid-water-trawl/assessment-downloads-1/82504_SR_2_Pac_hake_20111201.pdf
  4. DFO, 2008. Marine Protected Areas. Fisheries and Oceans Canada.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/marineareas-zonesmarines/mpa-zpm/index-eng.htm
  5. DFO, 2009. Canadian Assessment of Pacific Hake in U.S. and Canadian Waters in 2009.http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/CSAS/Csas/Publications/ScR-RS/2009/2009_002_E.pdf
  6. DFO, 2011. Preliminary Summary Commercial Statistics 1996-2011. Fisheries and Oceans Canada Website. [Accessed on 21 August 2012].http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/stats/comm/summ-somm/index-eng.htm
  7. Hamel, O.S., Stewart, I.J., 2009. Stock Assessment of Pacific Hake, Merluccius productus (a.k.a. Whiting) in U.S. and Canadian Waters in 2009. Draft version; NMFS, 246 p. http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Pacific_Whiting_2009_Assessment.pdf
  8. Helser, T.E. and S. Martell, 2007. Stock Assessment of Pacific Hake (Whiting) in U.S. and Canadian Waters in 2007, Pacific Fishery Management Council, 2007.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/hake2007assessment_fuldoc_with_appendices.pdf
  9. Helser, T.E., I.J. Stewart, G.W. Fleischer, and S. Martell, 2006. Stock Assessment of Pacific Hake (Whiting) in U.S. and Canadian Waters in 2006, Pacific Fishery Management Council, 2006.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2006_hake_assessment_FINAL_ENTIRE.pdf
  10. Helser, T.E., Stewart, I.J, Hamel, O.S., 2008. Stock Assessment of Pacific Hake (Whiting) in U.S. and Canadian waters in 2008. NMFS, 128 p.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/pacific_hake_assessment_2008_FINAL.pdf
  11. Hicks, A.C., Taylor, N., Grandin, C., Taylor, I.G. and Cox, S., 2013. Status of the Pacific hake (Whiting) stock in U.S. and Canadian Waters in 2013. International Joint Technical Committee for Pacific hake. Final Document 3/4/2013. 190 pp.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Hake_2013_Assessment.pdf
  12. Jannot, J., E. Heery, M.A. Bellman, and J. Majewski. 2011. Estimated bycatch of marine mammals, seabirds, and sea turtles in the US west coast commercial groundfish fishery, 2002-2009. West Coast Groundfish Observer Program. National Marine Fisheries Service, NWFSC, 2725 Montlake Blvd E., Seattle, WA 98112. 104 pp.http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/research/divisions/fram/observer/datareport/docs/mmsbt_report02-09.pdf
  13. Joint Management Committee (JMC). 2014. Agreement between the government of the United States of America and the government of Canada on Pacific Hake/whiting. Joint Management Committee (JMC). 20 March 2014. 2 pp.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Hake_2014_jmc_tac_recommendation.pdf
  14. Joint Management Committee (JMC). 2015. Agreement between the government of the United States of America and the government of Canada on Pacific Hake/whiting. Joint Management Committee (JMC). 20 March 2015. 2 pp. http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/fishery_management/groundfish/whiting/jmc2015tac.pdf
  15. Levin, P.S. & Schwing, F.B (Eds), 2011. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NWFSC-109. Technical background for an Integrated Ecosystem Assessment of the California Current: Groundfish, Salmon, Green Sturgeon, and Ecosystem Health.http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/assets/25/7772_07122011_125959_CalCurrentIEATM109WebFinal.pdf
  16. Martell, S., 2008. Assessment and Management advice for Pacific hake in U.S. and Canadian waters in 2008. http://www.pcouncil.org/bb/2008/0308/F3a_ATT4.pdf
  17. Martell, S., 2010. Assessment and Management advice for Pacific hake in U.S. and Canadian waters in 2010. http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/E3a_ATT1_HAKE_USCAN_MARCH_2010_BB.pdf
  18. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), 2005. Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan: Essential Fish Habitat Designation and Minimization of Adverse Impacts. Final Environmental Impact Statement.http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/publications/nepa/groundfish/final_groundfish_efh_eis.html
  19. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), 2010. FishWatch – U.S. Seafood Facts: Pacific Whiting (Hake) Merluccius productus. NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service.http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch/species/pac_whiting.htm
  20. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), 2011. 2011 Pacific Whiting Fishery Summary. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Northwest regional Office.http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2011/07/docs/report.pdf
  21. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). 2014. Groundfish Closed Areas. NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service – West Coast Regional Office website. Accessed 06 July 2014.http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/management/groundfish_closures/groundfish_closed_areas.html
  22. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2010. Federal Register Vol.75, No. 85, Tuesday, May 4, 2010, Rules and Regulations. Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Biennial Specifications and Management Measures, 6 pp.http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/publications/frn/2010/75fr23615.pdf
  23. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2011. Federal Register Vol.76, No. 97, Thursday, May 19, 2011. Rules and Regulations. Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Biennial Specifications and Management Measures. Final Rule; Pacific Whiting Harvest Specifications and Tribal Allocation.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/76FR28897.pdf
  24. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2012. Federal Register Vol.77, No. 94, Tuesday, May 15, 2012. Rules and Regulations. Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Biennial Specifications and Management Measures. Final Rule; Pacific Whiting Harvest Specifications and Tribal Allocation.http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-05-15/pdf/2012-11735.pdf
  25. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2013. Federal Register Vol.78, No. 88, Tuesday, May 7, 2013. Rules and Regulations. Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Biennial Specifications and Management Measures for the 2013 Tribal and Non-Tribal Fisheries for Pacific Whiting. Final Rule. p. 26526-26539. http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/publications/frn/2013/78fr26526.pdf
  26. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2014a. Federal Register Vol.79, No. 92, Tuesday, March 13, 2014. Rules and Regulations. Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Annual Specifications and Management Measures for the 2014 Tribal and Non-Tribal Fisheries for Pacific Whiting. Final Rule. p. 27199-27211.http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/frn/2014/79fr27198.pdf
  27. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2015). Federal Register Vol.80, No. 93, Thursday, March 14, 2015. Rules and Regulations. Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Annual Specifications and Management Measures for the 2015 Tribal and Non-Tribal Fisheries for Pacific Whiting. Final Rule. p. 27588-27600. http://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer?documentId=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0017-0005&disposition=attachment&contentType=pdf
  28. Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), 2008. Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan for the California, Oregon, and Washington Groundfish Fishery as amended through Amendment 19 including Amendment 15.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/fmpthru19.pdf
  29. Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), 2011. Pacific Whiting Joint U.S.-Canada STAR Panel Report. Agenda Item H.3.a Supplemental Attachment 2, 13 pp.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/H3a_ATT2_DRFT_STAR_HAKE_MAR2011BB.pdf
  30. Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC). 2014. Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan for the California, Oregon, and Washington Groundfish Fishery. Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC). Portland, OR. May 2014. 146 pp.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/GF_FMP_FINAL_May2014.pdf
  31. Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), 2009. Proposed Acceptable Biological Catch and Optimum Yield Specifications and Management Measures for the 2009-2010 Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Final Environmental Impact Statement Including Regulatory Impact Review and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis. Pacific Fishery Management Council. http://www.pcouncil.org/groundfish/background/document-library/environmental-impact-statements/2009-2010-final-environmental-impact-statement/
  32. Pedersen, M., M. Stocker and R. Trumble. 2013. Surveillance Report: Pacific Hake Midwater Trawl Fishery. MRAG Americas Inc. 20 December 2013. 65 pp.http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/pacific/pacific-hake-mid-water-trawl/assessment-downloads-1/20140108_SR_HAK95.pdf
  33. Pedersen, M., M. Stocker & S. Devitt, 2012. Surveillance Report: Pacific Hake Midwater Trawl Fishery. Intertek Moody Marine Ltd.http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/pacific/pacific-hake-mid-water-trawl/assessment-downloads-1/20130128_SR_HAK95.pdf
  34. Pedersen, M., Stocker, M., Trumble, R., 2016. First Annual Re-assessment Surveillance Report: US and Canada Pacific Hake/Whiting Mid-water Trawl Fishery. MRAG Americas Inc. Client Draft, February 4, 2016. https://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/pacific/pacific-hake-mid-water-trawl/Reassessment-downloads/20160128_SR_HAK95-rev.pdf
  35. Pedersen, M., Stocker, M., Trumble, R.J., 2014. MSC Public Certification Report for US and Canada Pacific Hake Mid‐water Trawl Fishery. MRAG Americas, Inc., November 2014. 251 pp.http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/pacific/pacific-hake-mid-water-trawl
  36. PFMC (Pacific Fishery Management Council), 2005. Amendment 18 (Bycatch Mitigation Program) [and] Amendment 19 (Essential Fish Habitat) to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan for the California, Oregon, and Washington Groundfish Fishery.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/A18-19Final.pdf
  37. Sampson, D., Haddon, M., Cadigan, N., Waldeck, D., and Wallace, J. 2008. Report of the 2008 U.S./Canada Pacific Hake (Whiting) Stock Assessment Review (STAR) Panel. Northwest Fisheries Science Center National Marine Fisheries Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 33 p.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Pacific_Whiting_2008_STAR.pdf
  38. Stewart, I. J. and Forrest, R.E. 2011. Status of the Pacific Hake (Whiting) stock in U.S. and Canadian Waters in 2011. Final - SAFE document. Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 207 pp. + Annexes.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Pacific_Whiting_2011_Assessment.pdf
  39. Stewart, I. J. and O. S. Hamel, 2010. Stock Assessment of Pacific Hake, Merluccius productus, (a.k.a.Whiting) in U.S. and Canadian Waters in 2010. Final - SAFE version. Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Pacific_Whiting_2010_Assessment.pdf
  40. Stewart, I.J., R.E. Forrest, N. Taylor, C. Grandin, A.C. Hicks, 2012. Status of the Pacific hake (Whiting) stock in U.S. and Canadian Waters in 2012. International Joint Technical Committee for Pacific hake.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Hake_2012_Assessment.pdf
  41. Taylor, I.G., C. Grandin, A.C. Hicks, N. Taylor, and S. Cox. 2015. Status of the Pacific Hake (whiting) stock in U.S. and Canadian waters in 2015. Prepared by the Joint Technical Committee of the U.S. and Canada Pacific Hake/ Whiting Agreement; National Marine Fishery Service; Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans. 159 p.http://www.cio.noaa.gov/services_programs/prplans/pdfs/ID279_Pac_Hake_2015_Final_Product%20(1).pdf
  42. Taylor, N., A.C. Hicks, I.G. Taylor, C. Grandin and S. Cox. 2014. Status of the Pacific Hake (whiting) stock in U.S. and Canadian waters in 2014 with a management strategy evaluation. International Joint Technical Committee for Pacific hake. Final Document, 28 February 2014. 156 pp.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Hake_2014_Assessment.pdfwl
References

    Comments

    This tab will disappear in 5 seconds.

    Comments on:

    North Pacific hake - NE Pacific, W. Coast US and Canada, United States, Midwater trawls

    comments powered by Disqus