St. Lawrence species

Silver hake

Merluccius bilinearis

Type of resource

  • Bottom fish
  • Fish

Other names

Atlantic hake

Status of the resource

  • Not a cause for concern

In season

Fresh from May to October.

SIZE : Approximately 37 cm and 750 g, females up to 76 cm.

LIFE EXPECTANCY : From 10 to 12 years.

LIFE CYCLE : The reproduction season runs from June to September. Females release up to three batches of floating transparent eggs per spawning season. The larvae are born after two to five days.

Temperature can influence this period, which is later in colder years.

The silver hake has a large, pointed head and a long, slender body with two dorsal fins. This fish has a protruding lower jaw without barbels. Its body is covered with large scales. It has a silvery color; darker on its back and paler on its belly.

In the water column, usually between 50 m and 400 m deep, but can go as far as 914 m.

Silver hake are found closer to the shore when the water is warmer and migrate to deeper waters in winter.


Hake (cannibalism)





Juvenile silver hake camouflage amid shelters built by small detritus-eating crustaceans, called amphipods, to avoid predators. The stripes and spots on the fish’s dorsal surface mimic the tube patterns of amphipods for better camouflage.

MACHINES : Trawls, gillnets.


  • Quotas
  • Regulated gear type
  • Fishing season

Silver hake is an important commercial species in Canada and the United States.

In the past, it was mostly fished by European vessels. The market has therefore never developed in Quebec. Even today, the Canadian silvery hake fishing is destined for European markets.

The fishing season extends mainly from May to November in the Northwest Atlantic.
Credit : Herpingpro, photo taken in Massachussets, in 2022.

This low-calorie fish is a good source of protein, potassium, and Omega-3.

Tender texture; delicate and slightly sweet taste. White, boneless flesh.

Silver hake can be prepared whole in the oven, fried fish-and-chips style, or in grilled slices.

Its flesh is also well-suited to the production of surimi (also mistakenly known as crab sticks).


  • The most popular accompaniments for silver hake are inspired by Portuguese cuisine: capers, garlic, onions, tomatoes, even chorizo or saffron.