One of the most important fisheries in the northern Benguela is the Namibian hake fishery, which targets both Merluccius capensis and Merluccius paradoxus. In spite of attempts to rebuild the hake stocks that were severely depleted by distant-water fleets before Namibia's independence in 1990, stocks have failed to recover. Because the ecological goal of stock rebuilding competes with social and economic objectives on the political stage, the ability to make accurate abundance estimates is important. However, the precision of abundance estimates is impeded by lack of understanding of hake behavior and of the effects of environmental factors. Furthermore, at present both species of hake are assessed and managed as one Namibian stock. We present qualitative information derived from interviews that we conducted with Namibian hake trawl and longline fishers during the 2009 and 2010 fishing seasons, and information gleaned from analyzing logbook data. We contextualize both types of data within the scientific literature on Namibian hakes and the Namibian hake fishery. Fishers monitor sea surface and bottom temperature, water quality, currents, and weather, and they have detailed knowledge about the behavior and habitat of hakes. Fishers differentiate between three different types of M. capensis, which they associate with different fishing areas. They also describe innovations that have taken place over the past 20 years, which are of relevance to the assessment of fishing efficiency and effort, but have not been taken into account in the stock assessments. Our analysis of logbook data supports the increase in efficiency. The results show that closer collaboration between scientists and fishers has the potential to improve the accuracy of survey estimates and stock assessments, and thus is important for rebuilding of hake stocks and the hake fishery.