Warm ocean possible culprit in 2015 Pacific hake collapse – Big bounce-back is expected in 2016

Warmer ocean water may be to blame for a troubling harvest decline last fall in one of the North Pacific’s most important commercial fisheries, federal scientists report. Pacific hake, also known as whiting, became scarce in Washington and Oregon waters last fall. This winter, they were “much farther offshore than the fish usually occur in summer and fall,” NOAA chief scientist Sandy Parker-Stetter wrote in a February blog.  NOAA researchers were as surprised as anyone by the low catches. NOAA survey data from 2015 showed that West Coast hake are doing well, and remain present in large volumes, said Hicks, who serves on the Joint Technical Committee that analyzes hake data. Read the rest here 09:58