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Southern Squid Jig Fishery - Australia


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#1 glen

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 10:46 PM

For those of you who are interested. Here is some information about the Southern Squid Fishery. The source was the website of the Aust Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) which manages commonwealth (mostly offshore) fisheries. The info might be a year or two out of date but is still interesting.

See link http://www.afma.gov....s/squidbkgd.php

The Southern Squid Jig Fishery (the Fishery) is defined as encompassing Commonwealth waters from Sandy Cape on Fraser Island (24°30'S), to the South Australian and Western Australian border (129°E) and includes all Commonwealth waters around Tasmania (refer to Figure 1).

Species
Arrow squid (Nototodarus gouldi) - also known as Gould's, flying or torpedo squid - is the most significant commercial squid species in southern Australian waters. They are distributed from southern Queensland to Geraldton in Western Australia, including Bass Strait and Tasmania. Arrow squid also inhabit the northern waters of New Zealand. They are most abundant over the continental shelf and slope in the 50-metre to 200-metre depth range and inhabit waters with sea surface temperatures from 11ºC to over 25ºC.

Arrow squid school and tend to aggregate near the seabed during the day and disperse throughout the water column at night. They are voracious feeders and, following concentrations of prey species, will often aggregate near the thermocline at night or migrate to the surface to feed. Arrow squid feed mainly at night and eat pelagic crustaceans, fish and other squid. Catch rates usually decrease at the surface during the full moon period (O'Sullivan and Cullen 1983 and Winstanley et al 1983, cited in Kailola et al 1993).

Other squid of commercial potential in the area are the inshore southern calamari (Sepioteuthis australis), the offshore red ocean squid (Ommastrephes bartrami) and the Southern Ocean arrow squid (Todarodes filippovae).

In addition to the taking of squid, the Southern Squid Jig Fishing Permit allows the taking of up to a total of 100 kg of fish (of the superclass Pisces) per trip, but does not allow the taking of any Blue Eye Trevalla, Pink Ling, Blue Warehou or Gemfish.

Methods and Gear
Squid are primarily targeted by jigging, a highly selective fishing method that corresponds well with their characteristics and behaviour. The Fishery operates at night using automatic jigging machines with bright overhead lights to exploit the squids' strong attraction to light, and lines with several barbless lures to land most of the catch (Chapman, cited in Kailola et al 1993). Manual hand-held jigging is sometimes practiced. The main area fished is in western Bass Strait and off western Victoria. In recent years, the most productive fishing grounds have been between Queenscliff and Portland, off the Victorian coastline. The jig fishing season typically lasts from January to July each year with the highest catches concentrated between April and June (refer to Figure 2).

In particular years, the South East Trawl Fishery and the Great Australian Bight Trawl Fishery take a substantial proportion of the Commonwealth squid catch as a by-product of demersal otter trawling and Danish seine operations targeting finfish. These fisheries are managed separately from the Southern Squid Jig Fishery and their impacts will not be addressed in the Bycatch Action Plan for the Fishery.
Although no foreign squid jigging vessels have sought to operate in the Fishery since foreign fishing ceased in 1988, the Commonwealth is obliged, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to give foreign fishers access to resources which are not being fully utilised by Australia. Although knowledge about the Fishery is limited, the present scientific opinion is that the squid resource is probably not fully utilised by domestic jiggers and trawlers. However, the capacity of the existing domestic fleet which has access to the Fishery is far larger than current catch levels would indicate.

Arrow squid are not normally a target of recreational fishers, although they may be caught as bycatch of some fishing methods. Anglers hand-jigging for southern calamari in Victoria catch some arrow squid but normally discard the catch in preference for the calamari. Arrow squid may also be taken by fishers trolling for fish species such as barracouta and Australian salmon (Arripirs spp.). A daily bag limit of 10 individuals of any squid species applies in Victoria and there are no regulations specific to arrow squid in other States (Kailola et al 1993). Any recreational fishing is considered to be within three nautical miles of the coast, which is outside the area of the Fishery and will not be addressed in the Bycatch Action Plan for the Fishery.

Markets
The catch by domestic jig and trawl vessels is chilled on board and returned to port for processing and freezing within 24 hours of landing. Most of the Australian catch of arrow squid is sold on the domestic market through the Sydney Fish Market, the Melbourne Wholesale Fish Market or directly to processors. Despite this, the majority of the squid consumed in Australia is imported, with approximately 5,000 tonnes of squid products being imported annually at a cost of around $17 million.

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[See full AFMA page below as a word document attachment]

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Edited by glen, 22 May 2004 - 07:48 PM.

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