Calamari, like most cephalopods, are highly productive, however their short lifespan means that it is vitally important that they are allowed to spawn successfully as there is only ever a single cohort within the fishery. The north coast calamari fishery is expanding in terms of catch and effort by both the commercial and recreational sectors and there is no mechanism to prevent further expansion by either sector. There is currently no understanding of spatial or temporal variation in spawning in this region and environmental conditions are vastly different to the south east. The impacts of the expansion on the productivity of the species is unknown and thus, there is no information available to predict the possible impact of further expansion, which is likely to occur in both the recreational and commercial sectors. The calamari fishery is increasing in value and overexpansion in this fishery is likely to have negative economic ramifications for the fishery due to both overcapacity and decreased productivity.
This project has responded directly to management and industry concerns over a rapid increase in catch and effort on the Tasmanian north coast Southern Calamari fishery. The survey methodology applied in this project provided the evidence-base for implementing the first north coast Southern Calamari spawning closure in the 2017/18 season. Extension of the spatial and temporal extent of subsequent closures in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 spawning seasons was also based on information generated by this project and was well accepted by stakeholders. Monitoring conducted within this project has confirmed the close association of the fishery with inshore spawning aggregations and has measured high spatial and temporal variability in the intensity and pattern of inshore spawning activity both within and between spawning seasons.
The egg mass survey methodology implemented in this project has a demonstrated application for ongoing investigation of the dynamics of inshore spawning aggregations of Southern Calamari on the north coast of Tasmania and for assessment and refinement of management applied to future commercial and recreational fishing effort targeting these aggregations.