Fisheries & Conservation Science Group

Squid Fisheries

To date, this small-scale emerging fishery in the Isle of Man has not received any directed scientific research or management input, but please review the information under the other tabs.

A small, directed squid fishery using traditional line and hook (hand jigging) methods has developed around the Isle of Man in recent years. As a fishing method jigging is highly selective and has minimal impact on the marine environment. Two squid species (Loligo forbesi and Alloteuthis subulata) have commonly been recorded around the Isle of Man (Montgomery, 2008; Duncan, 2009; Boyle and Thompson, 2012). However, the current state of knowledge of stock identity, distribution, seasonality, life cycle and population dynamics of squid species within the Isle of Man territorial sea remains limited.

Several Manx fishing vessels target squid by hand jigging. The jig fishery initially increased both in terms of landed weight and value from only 2.6 tonnes (t) in 2011 to over 6.7 t in 2013, before seeing a decline in landings over the following two years with only 0.75 t of landings recorded in 2015. At present landings of A. subulata and L. forbesii are not recorded seperately. Landings peak around October and November (Duncan, 2009), corresponding to the occurrence of pre-breeding or spawning squid in inshore coastal waters. In addition, data collected from trawl bycatch surveys showed higher abundances of squid in waters to the west of the Isle of Man (Montgomery., 2008). Squid were recorded at 3 x higher densities in trawls on the west coast of the Island (average of 8.45 squid per tow) compared to the east coast of the Island (average of 2.63 squid per tow) (Montgomery, 2008). As such directed squid fishing may only be commercially viable in certain coastal locations and during periods of high abundance. To date, this small-scale emerging fishery has not received any directed scientific research or management input.

European Northern Squid, (Loligo forbesii)

Male squid tend to be larger than females, with an adult body size ranging between 100 – 650 mm mantle length (ML) in males (155 – 3700g) and 175 – 350mm ML in females (200 – 1150g). This species has a special local connection with the Isle of Man having been named after one of the Island’s most famous Marine Biologists and naturalists, Professor Edward Forbes hence the name ‘forbesii’ (Jereb et al., 2015).

Habitat & Distribution

L. forbesii is found along the European Atlantic coast from northern Norway to the Iberian Peninsula. It has also been reported off West Africa, the Azores, Canary Islands and Madeira (Jereb et al., 2015). It is a neritic and predominantly near-bottom living species that lives in coastal waters and the continental shelf seas of the Northeast Atlantic and is common in British and Irish waters (Holme 1974; Pierce et al., 1994b).

Life Cycle

Th maximum lifespan of L. forbesii is around 16 months. The life cycle is annual and spawning is typically semelparous (females lay eggs in batches and die shortly after completion of spawning). Spawning usually occurs in winter and eggs are laid by females in finger-like strings (around 50 – 130 eggs per string) with are deposited together (by one or more females) to form clusters. Egg clusters primarily occur inshore and are attached to substrata on the seabed including algae, shells as well as artificial structures such as fishing gear.

Migratory patterns have been described for this species, but are poorly understood. Post-hatching L. fobesii are thought to migrate away from the coast, moving offshore as they grow and then subsequently returning to shallow water to breed (Jereb et al., 2015). It is likely that the migration patterns and distribution of this species may vary inter-annually (see Waluda and Pierce, 1998; Viana et al., 2009).

European Common Squid, Alloteuthis subulata

The European common squid is typically a smaller species than the European northern squid with males growing up to 215 mm maximum length and females up to 150 mm maximum length (Hastie et al., 2009b).

Habitat & Distribution

A. subulata is a near-bottom species that lives in shelf waters. This species is found in the Northeast Atlantic and has been reported in several areas of the Mediterranean (Jereb et al., 2015). This species is particularly abundant in the Irish Sea (Nyegard, 2001) and is found from the coast out to ca. 500 m depth (Guerra, 1992). In some areas of its range, A. subulata is present year-round whilst in other areas it is thought to be migratory (Jereb et al., 2015).

Life Cycle

The lifespan of the A. subulata can range from 6 to 12 months (Arkhipkin and Nekudova, 1993, Jereb et al., 2015). Within any year, there may be several more or less distinct spawning periods. In the Irish Sea, spawning takes place in spring and summer with a possible minor spawning period in autumn (Nyegaard, 2001). During spawning, egg strings (approximately 30 -50 mm long and containing a number of eggs) are usually attached to a solid substratum (Yau, 1994).

There are currently no reports available, but please check again later.