Cod-like fishes belong to the Gadidae family. This includes the Atlantic and Pacific cod, pouting, haddock, whiting, European pollock, Alaska pollock and saithe. They live near the seabed in coastal waters and in deeper waters. During the day, they aggregate in schools. At night, they separate to forage independently. Gadidae are omnivorous fish that feed on worms, molluscs, bivalves, crustaceans and small fish. They migrate over large distances to spawn and to hunt on large schools of herring and smelt.
There are two species of Cape hake. Their distribution ranges overlap in the southeast Atlantic Ocean. However, Merluccius paradoxus can primarily be found in deeper waters between 200 and 100 metres and Merluccius capensis can be found in shallower coastal waters in depths of up to 50 metres. Merluccius paradoxus can reach a maximum length of 115 cm and is smaller than Merluccius capensis which can reach 140 cm in length.