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Difference Between Hake and Pollock

Hake vs Pollock

Fish is one of the staple foods we consume every day but often take for granted where they come from. In many parts of the world, white fish are consumed on a daily basis. “White fish” is an often used term in fisheries in reference to species that live and are harvested near the bottom of the seabed (aka demersal fish). These include the common Cod and Haddock. Hake and Pollock are two other lesser known varieties of white fish.

The Hake fish is a small, shallow water fish which is classified as a white fish. Hake comes from the Phycidae family, which is an order of Gadiformes. It grows to about 3 feet in length and weighs about 8 lbs., but larger specimens are not unheard of reaching up to 60 lbs. This species stays in deep sea water for most of the day and elevates to a higher depth at night. They feed on the smaller fish and other small prey that can be found in the similar depths that they inhabit. Their habitat varies reaching up to 350 meters in depth. The males and females of Hake are difficult if not virtually indistinguishable without close scrutiny. When spawning, Hake eggs float to the surface of the water. After the larvae develop, the young hakes will move deeper into the sea to about 200 meters or so. The Hake’s life span can reach approximately 14 years.

There are about 12 species of Hakes in the world, the most notable being Argentinian Hake found in Argentina (as well as parts of Uruguay); the European Hake in the Mediterranean and Black Sea (mostly France, Greece, Italy, Spain); Offshore Hake, which is common in the USA; the Southern Hake found in Chile and Peru; and the shallow-water and deep-water Hake both indigenous to the Southern Atlantic. These are the most familiar and commercially utilized species harvested as produce in their individual locations. Catching Hake is primarily through trawling (for deep-water Hake) and in-shore trawling or long-line fishing.

The shallow and deep-water Hakes are particularly in high demand, especially in areas of Europe such as Portugal and Spain. In Spain alone, Hake comprises about 25-30 per cent of the annual fish consumption in the country. France and Italy are also notable in how much Hake is consumed per annum. Hake is generally distributed as either fresh or frozen, as a fillet or steak, and as salted or smoked.

Pollock (also incorrectly referred to as “Pollack”) is a variety of white fish of the genus Pollachius. There are actually two species of Pollachius: Pollachius and Virens; however, both are commonly referred to as Pollock fish. Both of these species of Pollachius can grow to 3 feet in length or so and weigh around 40 lbs. The differences between the two species can be evident in their jaw lengths (with the Pollachius having a longer lower jaw) and the color of their scales, as the Pollachius has a brown or golden hue (with a darker shade along its back) while the Virens has a silver hue with a greenish tint across its back. There are also other species referred to as Pollock but are not of the genus Pollachius. These include the Alaskan Pollock and the Norwegian Pollock. However, they both belong to the genus Theragra, which is related to genus Pollachius by its family Gadidae.

Pollock was not as popular as whitefish until recent years due to the overfishing of the Cod and Haddock fish. Because of this, Pollock has increased in demand instead of simply being an alternative to Cod and Haddock. It was particularly popular in Norway before, but has enjoyed a greater consumption in Germany, Korea, and the United Kingdom. Pollock is distributed either fresh or frozen, mostly cut as fillets, though it is also prepared as minced, salted, or smoked.


1.Hake and Pollock are both varieties of white fish.
2.There are about 12 species of Hake compared to 2 of Pollock (the Alaskan and Norwegian Pollock are actually of a different genus).
3.Hake is popular in areas of Europe such as France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain; Pollock is popular in Alaska and Norway but is growing in demand in areas of Germany, Korea, and the United Kingdom as an alternative to Cod.
4.Both Hake and Pollock are distributed as fresh or frozen as well as in cuts of fillet and steak and prepared either as salted or smoked.

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1 Comment

  1. i think there’s a mistake in the number (8 lb?) in the 2nd paragraph?

    “It grows to about 3 feet in length and weighs about 8 lbs., but larger specimens are not unheard of reaching up to 60 lbs.”

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