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  • Merluccius merluccius capensis  Franca, 1962
    FAO Names
    En - Shallow-water Cape hake, Fr - Merlu côtier du Cap, Sp - Merluza del Cabo.
    3Alpha Code: HKK     Taxonomic Code: 1480500419
    Scientific Name with Original Description
    Merluccius capensis  Castelnau, 1861, Mem.poiss.Af.austr.:68 (South Africa).
    Diagnostic Features
    Head large, 27.3 to 30.2% of standard length. Measurements in relation to head length: upper jaw 48.2 to 54.7%; snout 31.9 to 36.5%; interorbital width 24.1 to 28.6%;  total number of gill rakers on first arch 15 to 20 (usually 16 to 20).  First dorsal fin with 1 spine and 9 to 11 rays; second dorsal fin with 38 to 43 rays; anal fin with 37 to 41 rays; tips of pectoral fins usually reaching origin of anal fin; posterior margin of caudal fin truncate or slightly concave.  Scales small, 132 to 149 along lateral line.  Number of vertebrae 23 to 26 (precaudal) + 24 to 28 (caudal) = 49 to 53 (total).  Colour: silvery, somewhat brownish on back, whitish on belly. 
    Geographical Distribution
    Southern and southwestern Africa, from Baie Farte (12.5°S), over the Agulhas Bank in the south, to Natal (28°S). Also found on the Valdivia Bank (26°18'S, 6°20'E).
    Habitat and Biology
    Lives close to the bottomon the continental shelf and upper slope (550 m).Females grow faster than males, with sexual maturity attained at 45 to 60 cm in the Cape region.
    Spawning appears to be mainly from October to December (mid-spring to early summer).  This hake migrates seasonally southward in the southern spring, and northward in autumn.The young (to about 64 cm) feed mainly on small crustaceans and small deep-sea fishes such as lantern fishes, whereas larger individuals feed chiefly on small hakes and jack mackerel.
    Maximum length 120 cm; commonly 40 to 60 cm.
    Interest to Fisheries
    An important foodfish. Most of the catches for this species are reported to FAO combined with those of Merluccius paradoxus, a similar species which lives in the same area of Merluccius capensis but usually at greater depths. For 1995, 278,257 t were reported to FAO for the two species combined (mainly by South Africa and Namibia) and 28 t by Angola only for M. capensis (M. paradoxus is not present in Angola). Until 1978, this species, together with M. paradoxus yielded the largest hake catches in the world (i.e. 1,122,000 t in 1972). Caught mainly with bottom trawls (otter trawls) at 550 m depth and processed into fish blocks. Most common fishing techniques are "demersal bottom trawling" and "Hake trawling". The total catch reported for this species to FAO for 1999 was 2 060 t. The countries with the largest catches were Angola (2 060 t).
    Local Names
    ANGOLA : Marmota ,  Pescada ,  Pescada-branca-do-Cabo ,  Pescada do reino .
    PORTUGAL : Marmota ,  Pescada ,  Pescada-branca-do-Cabo ,  Pescada do reino .
    SOUTH AFRICA : Shallow-water hake ,  Viakwater stokvis .
    Source of Information
    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.Daniel M.Cohen Tadashi Inada Tomio Iwamoto Nadia Scialabba 1990.  FAO Fisheries Synopsis. No. 125, Vol.10. Rome, FAO. 1990. 442p.
    Inada, (1981a)
    Jones & van Eck, (1967)
    Newman, (1977)
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