Southern Calamari (2018)

Sepioteuthis australis

  • Bradley Moore (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
  • Corey Green (Victorian Fisheries Authority)
  • Jeremy Lyle (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
  • Karina Hall (Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales)
  • Mike Steer (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Rocio Noriega (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)

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Stocks of Southern Calamari are sustainable in SA, VIC and NSW waters. There is a depleting stock in TAS and an undefined stock in the Commonwealth jurisdiction.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Commonwealth Commonwealth SESSF (CTS) Undefined Catch
Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (Commonwealth Trawl Sector) (CTH)
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Stock Structure

The biological stock structure across the distributional range of Southern Calamari is complex and potentially dynamic. One study using allozyme markers identified three genetic types with overlapping distributions and possible stocks off Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania (data were not available for Victoria) [Triantafillos and Adams 2001]. In contrast, another study using microsatellite markers found little genetic differentiation between seven study sites in Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia [Smith et al. 2015]. It also identified Tasmania as a possible important site for gene flow. Life history dynamics and studies of movement and statolith microchemistry in Tasmania also suggest some localised biological stock structuring [Pecl et al. 2011].

In the absence of conclusive evidence on biological stock boundaries, assessment of stock status is presented at the jurisdictional level—Commonwealth, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

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Stock Status


Commonwealth fishers take a small catch of Southern Calamari in the Danish-seine component of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (Commonwealth Trawl Sector). This undoubtedly comprises individuals from biological stocks that spawn, and spend the majority of their lives, in shallower state waters. A larger quantity of squid caught in trawls and reported as Southern Calamari is probably Gould’s Squid (Nototodarus gouldi) and is not included here. There is insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of this stock.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, Southern Calamari in the Commonwealth is classified as an undefined stock.

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Southern Calamari biology [Pecl 2001, Pecl et al. 2004, Triantafillos 2004]

Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Southern Calamari < 1 year, 550 mm ML, 3–4 kg 3–6 months; 150–200 mm ML 
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Distribution of reported commercial catch of Southern Calamari
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Fishing methods
Danish Seine
Management methods
Method Commonwealth
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Commercial 426.00kg in SESSF (CTS)
Indigenous Unknown
Recreational Unknown
Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (Commonwealth Trawl Sector) (CTH)

Commonwealth – Recreational The Commonwealth Government does not manage recreational fishing. Recreational fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the states or territory immediately adjacent to those waters, under their management regulations.

Commonwealth – Indigenous The Commonwealth Government does not manage non-commercial Indigenous fishing (with the exception of the Torres Strait). In general, non-commercial Indigenous fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the states or territory immediately adjacent to those waters. In the Torres Strait both commercial and non-commercial Indigenous fishing is managed by the Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA) through the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (Commonwealth), Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (Queensland) and the Torres Strait Regional Authority. The PZJA also manages non-Indigenous commercial fishing in the Torres Strait.

New South Wales – Indigenous (management methods) (a) Bag limits - the Aboriginal Cultural Fishing Interim Access Arrangement allows an Indigenous fisher in New South Wales to take in excess of a recreational bag limit in certain circumstances—for example, if they are doing so to provide fish to other community members who cannot harvest themselves; (b) Aboriginal cultural fishing authority - the authority that Indigenous persons can apply to take catches outside the recreational limits under the Fisheries Management Act 1994 (NSW), Section 37 (1d)(3)(9), Aboriginal cultural fishing authority; (c) Native title - in cases where the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) applies fishing activity can be undertaken by the person holding native title in line with S.211 of that Act, which provides for fishing activities for the purpose of satisfying their personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs. In managing the resource where native title has been formally recognised, the native title holders are engaged with to ensure their native title rights are respected and inform management of the State's fisheries resources.

New South Wales – Charter (catch) Considerable under-reporting of catch by this sector is likely [NSW DPI unpublished].

Victoria – Indigenous (management methods) In Victoria, regulations for managing recreational fishing may not apply to fishing activities by Indigenous people. Victorian traditional owners may have rights under the Commonwealth's Native Title Act 1993 to hunt, fish, gather and conduct other cultural activities for their personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs without the need to obtain a licence. Traditional Owners that have agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic) may also be authorised to fish without the requirement to hold a recreational fishing licence. Outside of these arrangements, Indigenous Victorians can apply for permits under the Fisheries Act 1995 (Vic) that authorise fishing for specific Indigenous cultural ceremonies or events (for example, different catch and size limits or equipment). There were no Indigenous permits granted in 2017 and hence no indigenous catch recorded.

Tasmania – Commercial (catch) Catches reported for the Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery are for the period 1 July to 30 June the following year. The most recent (complete) assessment available is for 2016–17.

Tasmania – Recreational (management methods) In Tasmania, a recreational licence is required for fishers using dropline or longline gear, along with nets, such as gillnet or beach seine. A bag limit of 10 individuals and a possession limit of 20 individuals is in place for recreational fishers.

Tasmania – Indigenous (management methods) In Tasmania, Indigenous persons engaged in aboriginal fishing activities in marine waters are exempt from holding recreational fishing licences, but must comply with all other fisheries rules as if they were licensed. Additionally, recreational bag and possession limits also apply. If using pots, rings, set lines or gillnets, Indigenous fishers must obtain a unique identifying code (UIC). The policy document Recognition of Aboriginal Fishing Activities for issuing a UIC to a person for Aboriginal Fishing activity explains the steps to take in making an application for a UIC.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Southern Calamari - note confidential catch not shown
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  1. Giri, K, Hall K 2015, South Australian recreational fishing survey. Fisheries Victoria Internal Report Series No. 62.
  2. Green, CP 2015, Jigging for Science—Defining the spawning needs of calamari in Port Phillip Bay. Recreational Fishing Grants Program research report, Vic DPI, Melbourne.
  3. Haddon M and Punt A 2018, simpleSA: A package containing functions to facilitate relatively simple stock assessments. R package version 0.1.10.
  4. Hall, KC 2015, Southern calamari (Sepioteuthis australis), In: J Stewart, A Hegarty, C Young, AM Fowler, and J Craig (ed.s), Status of fisheries resources in NSW 2013–14, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Mosman, pp 310–313.
  5. Lyle, JM, Stark, KE and Tracey, SR 2014, 2012–13 survey of recreational fishing in Tasmania. IMAS, Hobart.
  6. Lyle, JM, Tracey, SR, Stark, KE and Wotherspoon, S 2009, 2007–08 survey of recreational fishing in Tasmania. Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, Hobart.
  7. Moore, B, Lyle, J and Hartmann, K 2018, Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery assessment 2016/17, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart.
  8. NSW DPI unpublished, Status of Australian Fish Stocks 2018–NSW Stock status summary–Southern Calamari (Sepioteuthis australis), NSW Department of Primary Industries, Coffs Harbour.
  9. Pecl, G 2001, Flexible reproductive strategies in tropical and temperate Sepioteuthis squids, Marine Biology, 138: 93–101.
  10. Pecl, G, Tracey, S, Danyushevsky, L, Wotherspoon, S and Moltschaniwskyj, N 2011, Elemental fingerprints of Southern Calamari (Sepioteuthis australis) reveal local recruitment sources and allow assessment of the importance of closed areas, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 68(8): 1351–1360.
  11. Pecl, GT, Moltschaniwskyj, NA, Tracey, SR and Jordan, AR 2004, Inter-annual plasticity of squid life history and population structure: ecological and management implications, Oecologia, 139(4): 515–524.
  12. Review of key Victorian fish stocks—2017 Victorian Fisheries Authority Science Report Series No. 1.
  13. Smith, TM, Green, CP and Sherman, CDH 2015, Patterns of connectivity and population structure of the southern calamary Sepioteuthis australis in southern Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research, 66:942–947.
  14. Steer, MA, Fowler, AJ, McGarvey, R, Feenstra, J, Smart, J, Rogers, PJ, Earl, J, Beckmann, C, Drew, M, Matthews, D 2018 Assessment of the South Australian Marine Scalefish Fishery in 2017. Report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. 2017/000427-2. SARDI Report Series No. 1002.
  15. Triantafillos, L 2004, Effects of genetic and environmental factors on growth of southern calamary, Sepioteuthis australis, from southern Australia and northern New Zealand, Marine and Freshwater Research, 55: 439–446.
  16. Triantafillos, L and Adams, M 2001, Allozyme analysis reveals a complex population structure in the southern calamary Sepioteuthis australis from Australia and New Zealand, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 212: 193–209.
  17. VFA Unpublished data 2017, Victorian Southern Calamari Assessment 2000–2017. Victorian Fisheries Authority.
  18. West, LD, Stark, KE, Murphy, JJ, Lyle, JM and Ochwada-Doyle FA 2015, Survey of recreational fishing in New South Wales and the ACT, 2013/14, Fisheries final report series 149, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Wollongong.

Downloadable reports

Click the links below to view reports from other years for this fish.