As their names suggest, the two species live at different depths: shallow-water hake have been recorded from close inshore (30m) to about 500m, with most of the population living between 100 and 300m, while deep-water hake range from depths of 110 to 1 000m, with most of the stock located between 200 and 800m. Both species increase in size the further offshore and the deeper they live and so large shallow-water hake co-exist with (and feed extensively on) smaller deep-water hake.
On the west coast, the continental shelf is narrow and most trawling is in deep water; as a result, catches are dominated by deep-water hake. In contrast, most trawling on the south coast is on the wide continental shelf (the Agulhas Bank) and shallow-water hake tends to dominate, accounting for as much as 70% of hake catches.
Although the two species are distinct, they are usually caught, processed and sold under the collective name of “Cape hake”, “Cape capensis” or “Cape haddie”.
More about the Cape hakes