Hake, Atlantic silver (also known as Atlantic whiting)
Atlantic silver hake, also known as Atlantic whiting, is a popular whitefish caught in the northeastern U.S., from Maine to Virginia. This fish is low in contaminants such as mercury and PCBs. With good management efforts, the stock is recovering from persistent overfishing by foreign fleets in the 1960s and 1970s. As a result of fishing pressure, populations of hake are skewed, and there are fewer older fish than there would be in a natural (unfished) population. Despite this, silver hake are no longer considered to be overfished or over-exploited. However, hake are most commonly captured with bottom otter trawls, nets that drag along the seafloor, that can damage bottom habitat and remove or cover animals and plant life. This fishing method also can result in the unintended capture of many other types of marine life (bycatch). Although very little research has been done on bycatch levels related to hake fishing, it is believed that certain types of Atlantic groundfish are accidentally captured by the trawls, and many of these are already overfished.