Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

White hake - Southern Grand Bank
Fact Sheet Title  Fact Sheet
Stocks management recommendations 2023
White hake - Southern Grand Bank
Fact Sheet Citation  
White hake in Div. 3NO
Owned byNorthwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) – ownership
ident Blockident Blockdisplay tree map
Species List:
Species Ref: en - White hake, fr - Merluche blanche, es - Locha blanca, ru - Налим нитеперый белый
ident Block White hake - Southern Grand Bank
Aq Res
Biological Stock: No         Value: Regional
Management unit: Yes        Reference year: 2022
Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State Trend Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State TrendNone- low Fishing MortalityNo or low fishing mortalityGreen
Aq Res State TrendSmall Stock SizeLow abundance

Stock status is unknown. No information is available on recruitment and relative fishing mortality since 2019.
Habitat Bio
Climatic Zone: Temperate.   Bottom Type: Unspecified.   Depth Zone: Slope - Deepslope (500 m - 1000 m).   Horizontal Dist: Neritic.   Vertical Dist: Demersal/Benthic.  

Geo Dist
Geo Dist: Straddling between High Seas and EEZ

Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: Regional

Water Area Overview
Aq Res Struct
Biological Stock: No

White hake is caught in directed gillnet, trawl and long-line fisheries. In directed white hake fisheries, Atlantic cod, black dogfish, monkfish and other species are landed as bycatch. In turn, white hake are also caught as bycatch in gillnet, trawl and long-line fisheries directing for other species. The fishery in NAFO division 3NO, and subdivision 3Ps, are regulated by quotas.

Recent catch estimates and TACs (‘000 t) are:

Ecosystem sustainability of catches

White hake is included in the piscivore guild. Other NAFO managed stocks in this guild and relevant EPUs include 3O and 3LN redfish, 2+3KLMNOPs Greenland halibut, and 3NO cod. There is no TCI information for the Southern Newfoundland (3Ps) EPU. In the Grand Bank (3LNO) EPU the Catch/TCI is below the 2TCI ecosystem reference point (3LNO Piscivore Catch2022/TCI=1.54) indicating an intermediate risk of ecosystem overfishing.
Bio Assess
Ref Point

No reference points have been defined.
Assess Models
Analytical assessment

The assessment is based upon a qualitative evaluation of stock biomass trends and recruitment indices. The last available survey that covered the complete stock area was in autumn 2020 and the last primary survey index was 2019. New vessels are being used to conduct the Canadian surveys and information from 2022 onwards is being examined for comparability to the previous survey indices used in this assessment.

The next full assessment of this stock was planned to be in 2025. However, until such time data is available to allow a full assessment, this stock will be monitored in the future by interim monitoring reports.

Fishing Mortality



Human impact

Mainly fishery related mortality has been documented. Mortality from other human sources (e.g. pollution, shipping, oil-industry) are undocumented.

Biological and environmental interactions

On the Grand Bank, white hake are near the northern limit of their range, concentrating along the southwest slope of the Grand Bank at temperatures above 5°C. The major spawning area is located on the shelf-edge on the Grand Bank. Weaker ocean currents on the continental slope during the spawning period are hypothesized to reduce potential losses of eggs and larvae due to entrainment in the Labrador Current and increase recruitment potential.

White hake feed mostly on crustaceans and fish. Larger individuals are reported to be cannibalistic and to feed upon eggs and juveniles. In nearshore areas, white hake are also thought to predate on smaller juvenile cod. Predators of white hake include Atlantic cod, other fish species, Atlantic puffins, Arctic terns, other seabirds and seals.

This stock straddles the 3Ps and 3LNO Ecosystem Production Units (EPU), which have been experiencing low productivity conditions in recent years, including biomass declines across multiple trophic levels and stocks in 3LNO since 2014.
Management unit: Yes


Recommendation for 2024 and beyond

Stock status is unknown. Catches of white hake in 3NO should not increase above recent levels (the average of the most recent five years is around 400 tonnes).

No explicit management plan or management objectives defined by the Commission. General Convention Principles are applied.

Stock definition for management purposes

The management unit is confined to NAFO Div. 3NO, which is a portion of the stock that is distributed in NAFO Div. 3NO and Subdivision 3Ps.
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Scientific Council Documents SCR Doc.23/36 and SCS Doc. 23/06, 23/09, 23/12, 23/13. Click to open
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO). 2023. Report of the Scientific Council Meeting, 2 – 15 June, 2023. NAFO SCS Doc. 23/18. Click to open
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO). 2008. Resolution on the Interpretation and Implementation of the Convention on the Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries. 30th Annual Meeting – September 2008. NAFO/GC Doc. 08/3. Click to open
powered by FIGIS  © FAO, 2024
Powered by FIGIS