SARF063-02: Establishment and development of a national broodstock of the European hake, Merluccius merluccius

Start Date: 04/01/2010
End Date: 20/06/2012
Main Contractor(s): Viking Fish Farms Ltd
Other Sponsor(s):  


1. To capture wild adult hake (Year 1)

2. To develop the captured population into stable broodstock populations (Year 2)

3. To  determine the conditions required for maturation in captivity (Year 2)

4. To produce viable fertilised eggs from the captive stocks (Years 2 and 3)

5. To make the first attempts to rear have fry from egg (Years 2 and 3)



This project has been prepared in response to SARF’s call for proposals for research on new species with aquaculture potential in Scotland.

The hake, Merlucius merluccius:

There exists a large and well-developed (segmented) market for a range of hake products, from commodity to premium, which are supplied by a range of wild species including Merluccius spp, allied genera and assorted species. The European and Southern species comprise some of the smallest component elements (ca. 15%) of the Merluccius spp global pool but they are regarded as the more exclusive and most expensive products; they are the premium products. The extant supply, at ca. 100,000 tonnes for M. merluccius, is relatively stable long-term and quantities are highly unlikely to increase from wild catches in the coming decade. There are well-defined national/regional markets within Europe, with prescribed quality criteria, for specific and recognised hake products (e.g. ‘la merluza’) particularly in Spain, Portugal, Italy and France. Given the collective experience of the aquaculture industry, generally, farmed hake is anticipated to have the potential to achieve premium quality for the species and, clearly, the ready and large markets that exist can be accessed providing this market product meets the stringent and more subjective requirements, olfactory, gustatory and sensory, of premium wild hake and it can be produced at a competitive price.