Fin-tastic Facts About The Hake For Kids

Here are a few Hake facts that will help you learn more about this fish.

Hake is a famous, not-so-good-looking fish living in deep water. Hake is mostly present in the benthic area of the water body, which refers to the depths of waters. These species are found in many areas like Southern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, North Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea, Madagascar Ridge, and more. While not the best fish for the American taste, hakes can be used to make several high-quality culinary dishes. That's why many fisheries still focus on fishing hake. The fish may belong to a similar family as the cod but it is not as popular as a cod or haddock. The hake fish taste differs from cod too. Hence, when it comes to a taste comparison of hake vs cod, the hake taste makes it a poor substitute for cod. Many people are quite confused about the hake pronunciation too. Hake is pronounced as 'Hay-ik'. If you like the Hake fish, you may want to know how the hake fish lives in waters and sustains themselves. You may want to also know how they are caught in sustainable quantities by fisheries. Read on for more interesting facts about this species.

If you want to learn more about such fascinating animals, you can read our articles on candiru and hogfish.


Fact File

What do they prey on?

Anchovies, mackerel, sardines, crustaceans

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

Hundreds of thousands of eggs

How much do they weigh?

33 lb (15 kg)

How long are they?

Southern Hake - 49.2 in (1.25 m)

Capen Hake - 47.2 in (1.20 m)

Argentine Hake - 37.4 in (0.95 m)

European Hake - 55.1 in (1.40 m)

Deep-water Cape Hake - 45.3 in (1.15 m)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Iron-gray, silver

Skin Type


What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

European Hake - Least Concern Gulf Hake - Least Concern Senegalese Hake - Endangered Carolina Hake - Least Concern Silver Hake - Near Threatened Luminous Hake - Least Concern Shallow-Water Cape Hake - Least Concern Offshore Hake - Least Concern North Pacific Hake - Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Benthopelagic (deep-sea)


Southern Hake - New Zealand, Patagonian Cape Hake - Africa, Baie Farte, Agulhas Bank, Natal, Valdivia Bank Argentine Hake - Southwest Atlantic, Brazil, Argentina, Falkland Islands European Hake - Norway, Iceland, Mauritania, the Mediterranean Sea, and Black Sea Deep-water Cape Hake - Africa, Cape Frio, Agulhas Bank, Madagascar Ridge North Pacific Hake - Northeast Pacific Ocean





Scientific Name

Argentine Hake - Merluccius hubbsi European Hake - Merluccius merluccius Silver Hake - Merluccius bilinearis White Hake - Urophycis tenuis or Phycis dekayi North Pacific Hake - Merluccius productus


Merlucciidae Phycidae



Hake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a hake?

Hake is a kind of fish, belonging to the Merluccius genus.

What class of animal does a hake belong to?

Hake fish belongs to the class Actinopterygii.

How many hakes are there in the world?

It is unclear how many hakes are currently present in the world. However, it has been studied that the environment has been kind towards this species. Even with climate change and fishing, there has not been a decline in their population. On the flip side, the seas have grown milder, promoting the further growth of the hake population.

Where does a hake live?

Hake fish lives in the deep seas. The European Hake is known to stay in UK, Malta, Greece, mainland Spain, and Sweden, and more places. Gulf Hake can be found in the USA, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, and Colombia. Senegalese Hake can be found in Morocco, Mauritius, and Senegal. Carolina Hake can be found in the USA. Silver Hake can be found in the USA, the Bahamas, and Canada. The Luminous Hake can be spotted in Honduras, Jamaica, Surinam, and many such places. Shallow-Water Cape Hake can be found in South Africa, Angola, and Namibia.

What is a hake's habitat?

The habitat which the species of hake prefers is the marine neritic habitat. They love deep seas and hence, Marine Deep Benthic is also a favorable habitat for them.

Who do hakes live with?

Generally, the species of hake tend to live in small schools.

How long does a hake live?

Different species of hakes have different age limits. The Southern Hake has a max-age limit of 30 years. The European Hake has an age limit of 20 years. The North Pacific Hake has a limit of 26 years.

How do they reproduce?

The age of the first maturity of the hake fish is different for different hake species. For the European Hake, the age at which the female reaches maturity is their seventh year and the male reaches it during their fifth year. They have specific spawning grounds. They can spawn for a long time - April to December. The peak of it of course falls in between February and March. The larvae are then deposited in nursery areas.

What is their conservation status?

Most hakes are under the Least Concern status of The International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List. The European Hake, Luminous Hake, Shallow-water Cape Hake, Carolina Hake, Senegalese Hake, Gulf Hake comes under Least Concern. Silver Hake is under the Near Threatened status. Senegalese Hake is Endangered mostly because of its commercial status. They are targeted by trawlers and thus, are endangered due to excessive fishing. The Silver Hake is in a Threatened position due to overfishing. Oftentimes, they face a problem with exposure to oil spills. For example, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2011 affected the Gulf Hake population.

Hake Fun Facts

What does hake look like?

Silver hakes (Merluccius bilinearis) generally have a large head and sometimes, they carry speckles on their back. They have pointy teeth. Their long pectoral fins help them swim better, especially, since they like to stay near the bottom of the water. The European hakes have a similar head structure with sharp teeth that can make you really scared. Sometimes, a hake is often confused with ling and a tusk. However, there are certain differences. The tusk has a small barbule (whiskers over the mouth) on the lower jaw, a small rounded tail, and has a single dorsal fin. The ling has a rounded dorsal fin which is separate from the rest of its single dorsal fin and a large rounded tail. However, hakes have many slight differences. They don’t have barbules and have a large tail resembling a triangle. Like a ling, they also have a separate dorsal fin. They can be found in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Hake fish may not be the tastiest fish around.

How cute are they?

The species of Hake do not look cute at all. However, they do look really scary. Generally, they have really large heads and on top of that, they have really pointy teeth that can be frightening. They may be a delicacy in some areas, but they are definitely not a feast for the eyes.

How do they communicate?

It has been known for quite some time that fish communicate using different mechanisms, but most of these are not auditory signals. The best way in which a fish communicates is through motions. There are times when a fish can use chemical cues as well. However, not all kinds of communication of a fish are always silent. There are times when a fish can vocalize and communicate. This kind of vocalization generally takes place when they feel threatened or when they are compelled to show some form of aggression towards a specific fish or threat.

How big is a hake?

Each species of hake has different lengths. The Southern Hake is 49.2 in (1.25 m), the Capen Hake is 47.2 in (1.20 m), the Argentine Hake is 37.4 in (0.95 m), European Hake is 55.1 in (1.40 m), and the Deep-water Cape Hake - 45.3 in (1.15 m). When we compare this with a salmon, then the Atlantic Salmon has a length of 28-30 in. So, it is clear that the hake is quite a bit larger than the Salmon when we compare their length.

How fast can a hake swim?

Like most fish, this species also swims by flexing their body and hence, pushing themselves forwards. Previously, scientists were quite confused as to how fishes could swim so fast. Hakes can also swim quite well and are known to be swift swimmers. It is clear that using their flexing motion, fishes are able to generate the thrust that can help them push forward as they swim in the water. It has been assumed by many scientists that the reason why the fish could move so fast is because of tendons. The tendons help to push the fish forward and propel them in speed making them gather up speed in the process. Hakes tend to move in a similar fashion, though it has not been recorded how much speed they generate while swimming.

How much does a hake weigh?

A hake weighs around 33 lb (15 kg). It has been recorded that if the length is 4 ft, then the weight of the hake can be around 30–35 lb. The weight of the specimens of the largest hake has been around 60 lb.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to the male and female fish.

What would you call a baby hake?

Since hakes are fish, a baby hake can be referred to as fry.

What do they eat?

Since the species of hakes are carnivores, they feed on smaller fish, crustaceans like squid, and even bony fish species. Most of the time, Hakes generally go for prey present in the benthic areas. The benthic area refers to the lowest area of the ocean, that is, near the ocean floor. Since they live in oceans like the Pacific or Atlantic ocean, they often go to depths.

Are they eaten by humans?

Hake is consumed by human beings. Hake belongs to the haddock and the cod family and hence, it can be used for culinary purposes. However, Hake was always considered as a cheaper substitute to haddock and cod. It has a texture and taste that’s quite different from both of those varieties. In Spain, Hakes are in most demand for cooking but all over Europe, the demand is generally high. The taste of hake is rather mild and the meat can be really sweet. The texture of the hake is coarse and watery. In the US, hake, when sold in the market, is referred to as whiting. Surimi or imitation crab is a recipe that often uses Pacific Hake, though you can use other kinds of fishes for it too. In Portugal, hake loins are also enjoyed properly. The mushy texture of hake was quite unpopular when it comes to American cuisine, but with time (and the use of new and quality methods of handling fish), the high quality of hake is being preserved. Blue hake fish is also quite popular. Hence, fishing of hakes is quite common and is actively fished for the same purpose. As per the MSC Fisheries Standard, Hakes are alright for sustainable fishing. Wild hake is also seen as a delicacy and hence, fished actively.

Would they make a good pet?

Hakes are deepwater fishes and are predatory in nature. They are not suitable for aquarium-based environments. Hakes are not a cute-looking fish as well. So, they are not going to be suitable pets.

Did you know...

Hake is not just the name of a fish. It is also quite a common surname with a Nordic origin. Hake surname comes from the word ‘Haki’. In old Norse mythology, it refers to a sea king. Haki is also connected with the word ‘hook’ and so, it is closely related to the fishing industry.

Are hake cannibals?

The Silver Hake is known to have cannibalistic instincts. They are known to be predatory. In general, hakes are known to often hunt down smaller members of their own species, showing that they can be quite cannibalistic in nature.

How do hake hunt?

Smaller Silver Hake generally feed on crustaceans. It is the larger silver hake that tends to hunt fishes. They move vertically and are nocturnal hunters. The adult Silver Hake tends to go to shallow waters (during spring and summer) and then moves to deeper water during autumn or winter to catch older prey. Hakes are not solitary hunters. They generally tend to hunt in small schools. However, their hunting strategy is quite unique and comes with a predatory instinct. The strategy of a hake is to gang up on another school of fish, their prey (let’s say, herring) and then, they end up chasing them toward shallow water. Shallow water is a great hunting ground of hakes. When the herrings reach the shallow water, hakes could then hunt them down. Since hakes are nocturnal, it has been observed that when night falls, they tend to swim deep down. This is a way that they start searching for prey. Once the daylight sets in, they start to move upwards. Chilean Common Hakes, like most other hakes, live near the ocean floor and hunt. However, they can tend to hunt in water columns as well.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including wolffish, or neon tetra.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our king salmon coloring pages.



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