The following link provides the latest data summary for the Southern Squid Jig Fishery 2002-2003. It was published in Feb 2004.
Here are some of the key points:
1) The jig fishery operates at night, with automatic jigging machines used to land most of the arrow squid (Nototodarus gouldi) catch. Manual hand-held jigging is sometimes practised. 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 in the 50-100 metre depth range, however during the 1998/99 and 1999/00 seasons significant catches were taken off Lakes Entrance.
2) A significant number of boats that fish between Queenscliff and Portland are based in the Port Phillip Bay area and catch scallops (Pecten fumatus) during the winter months. Almost all of the squid jig catch is taken between January and July each year, with the highest catches occurring between February and June.
3) The fishery is based upon the catching of arrow squid (also known as Gould's squid - Nototodarus gouldi) - the bulk of which is caught in Commonwealth managed waters.
4) Other oceanic squids of commercial potential likely to be caught as bycatch or byproduct in the Southern Squid Fishery are the inshore (less than 60m) southern
calamari (Sepioteuthis australis), the offshore red ocean squid (Ommastrephes
bartrami) and the Southern Ocean arrow squid (Todarodes filippovae).
5) The catch in the jig fishery almost doubled in the 2002/03 season.
6) The jig fishery catch was taken in depths between
60 - 120 metres, with depths between 80 and 100 metres producing the highest
7) The SSJ sector recorded a reduction in CPUE this season, with an average catch of 210 kg per hour.
8) The squid jig sector recorded a total catch of 1,236 tonnes, compared to 663 tonnes in the previous season. Catches in May were a lot higher this season when compared to the previous season (Table 2 and Figure 5). The peak fishing period was in Autumn which is consistent with previous years.
9) Operators recorded a total of 5,889 hours jigging in 2002-03, a doubling of effort compared to the previous season.
10) The number of vessels operating in 2002/03 increased from last year. Of the 83 Commonwealth Southern Squid Jig entitlements, 42 were nominated to boats during the 2002/03 fishing season and 16 reported jigging for squid.
11) The specifications of vessels used in the Southern Squid Jig Fishery remained similar to those of the previous season. There have not been many changes to the vessels used over the history of the fishery. The average number of jigs per line increased, however the average number of jigging machines and lines has essentially remained the same. This season operators recorded an average total light wattage of 106 kilowatts. The range extended from 16 to 260 kilowatts.
12) In the 2002/2003 season the most catch was taken in water that had a surface temperature above 15°C, with the majority being taken between 15°C and 17°C.
13) Ninety one fishing interruptions were reported in 2002/03. Seals caused the highest number of interruptions, followed by barracouta. In many cases operators recorded shifting to other fishing grounds to avoid interactions with these species.
14) The SQJ fishery reported a minor amount of bycatch for the 2002/03 fishing season. Bycatch comprised of Blue Shark (20kg), Barracouta (5kg) and Octopus (5kg). There was no bycatch reported for the 2001/02 fishing season.
15) The peak catch rate of 264 kg per jigging hour (achieved in May) was the second highest peak recorded. The average catch rate for the season was 210 kg per jigging hour, which is 21 kg lower than last year.
16) The majority of this seasons squid catches were reported off the coast of Portland and Port Fairy. There were also some smaller squid catches just east of Apollo Bay. Over the proceeding seasons (1999/00 to 2001/02) the bulk of catches have been taken off the west coast of Victoria.
Southern Squid Fishery
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