Project number: 2006-012
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $261,120.00
Principal Investigator: Patti Virtue
Organisation: University of Tasmania (UTAS)
Project start/end date: 8 Aug 2006 - 30 Nov 2010


This project will address key aspects from four highly ranked SSJF research priorities as established by SquidRAG in 2005:

1. Understanding spatial distribution and the effects of environmental variability on squid.
2. Entrapment versus attraction, discovering the biological differences between jig and trawl caught squid.
3. Growth, reproduction, mortality and productivity
4. Squid predator-prey relationships

Research needs for the newly proposed targeted mid-water trawl squid fishery for the GAB will also be addressed.

This project also sits squarely within two strategic goals within the FRDC R&D Program 1 Planned Outcome- Natural Resource Sustainability: (1) “To increase and apply knowledge of the biology of fish and their ecosystems” and (2) “To increase and apply knowledge of interactions between fish and their ecosystems”.

Previous research has established important biological parameters for arrow squid, it has also highlighted large temporal and spatial variability. This variability coupled with the extreme fluctuations in fishery production hinders successful management.

Understanding the role the environment plays in arrow squid population dynamics will help develop models and pinpoint periods when conditions are conducive to squid growth and recruitment.

Understanding whether different techniques (jig vs. trawl) target different components of the population is significant especially for future policies on total allowable effort (TAE).

Understanding squid diet is also important for ecosystem management (ie.; especially for the proposed GAB fishery that will also be harvesting potential prey).

It was recognised at the Canberra meeting that Australia does not have the capacity to undertake broad-scale pre-season recruit net surveys, but using both light trapping of recruits and ecosystem modelling were seen as feasible techniques for understanding recruitment and stock fluctuations.

Both the SquidMAC and the SquidRAG see ongoing research as extremely important for future informed management of the fishery.


1. To investigate the influence of environmental and oceanographic variables on arrow squid growth and recruitment
2. To investigate the ecology, population dynamics of squid in the newly proposed mid-water trawl GAB fishery
3. To compare the biological composition of jig and trawl-caught squid
4. To describe the key components, spatial and temporal variability and environmental influences on the diet of arrow squid
5. To assess the use of light traps as samplers of juvenile squid recruitment
6. To develop an ecosystem model based on squid predator-prey relationships for squid stock assessment
7. To provide SquidMac with better information on environmental influences on stock fluctutations to assist in determining trigger points for the fishery
8. VARIATION TO CONTRACTOBJECTIVE 5 "To assess the use of light traps as samplers of juvenile squid recruitment" is still an objective of teh project but has been discontinued beacue this method was considered inappropriate as arrow squid were not attracted by the light traps"
9. VARIATION TO CONTRACTOBJECTIVE 3: "To compare the biological composition of jig and trawl-caught squid"

Final report

ISBN: 978-0-646-55590-4
Author: Patti Virtue

Related research