Southern Calamari (2020)

Sepioteuthis australis

  • Nils Krueck (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
  • Karina Hall (NSW Department of Primary Industry)
  • Victorian Fisheries Authority (Victorian Fisheries Authority)
  • Rocio Noriega4 (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)
  • Rocio Noriega (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)
  • Michael Drew (SARDI Aquatic Sciences, South Australia)

Date Published: June 2021

You are currently viewing a report filtered by jurisdiction. View the full report.

Toggle content


Stocks of Southern Calamari are considered to be sustainable in SA, VIC and NSW waters, while the stock in TAS is considered to be depleting. In Commonwealth waters, the stock is negligible.

Toggle content

Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Stock status Indicators
South Australia South Australia Sustainable Catch, effort, CPUE trends
Toggle content

Stock Structure

The biological structure of populations 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]. The same study identified Tasmania as a possibly important site for gene flow. Life history dynamics and studies of movement and statolith microchemistry in Tasmania suggest some localised population 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.

Toggle content

Stock Status

South Australia

Southern Calamari is considered a primary species within South Australia's commercial multispecies, multi-gear and multi-sectoral Marine Scalefish Fishery (MSF). The most recent assessment of Southern Calamari was completed in 2020 and used data to the end of December 2018 [Steer et al. 2020]. The primary measure for biomass and fishing mortality is targeted catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) from jig and hauling-net fishers [Steer et al. 2020]. The total reported commercial catch of Southern Calamari in 2018, combined across all fisheries (including catch by prawn fisheries), was 412 t and has remained relatively stable (> 350 t) over the last six years. The total catch in the MSF was 322 t during 2018–19. The combined catch of the three regional prawn fisheries accounted for 35.5 t in 2018–19. The average by-product caught in the three South Australian prawn trawl fisheries was approximately 40 t per year. Commercial targeted CPUE in the MSF  has remained relatively high in both the jig and the hauling net sectors of the fishery, exceeding 15 and 20 kg per fisherday[-1], respectively [Steer et al. 2020]. Declines in CPUE of up to 18 per cent over the past three to five years in Spencer Gulf indicate regional depletion maybe evident within the South Australian stock. The recreational catch of Southern Calamari in South Australia continues to exceed that of other states, at an estimated 155 t in 2013–14 [Giri and Hall 2015]. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired. Furthermore, the above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing mortality is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, Southern Calamari in South Australia is classified as a sustainable stock.

Toggle content


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 
Toggle content


Distribution of reported commercial catch of Southern Calamari

Toggle content


Fishing methods
South Australia
Squid Jigging
Otter Trawl
Seine Nets
Squid Jigging
Squid Jigging
Management methods
Method South Australia
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Spatial closures
Bag limits
Bag limits
Gear restrictions
South Australia
Commercial 291.86t
Indigenous Unknown
Recreational 155 t (2013–14)

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 – Recreational (catch totals) Estimate from Murphy et al. [2020], based on a survey of Recreational Fishing Licence households.

New South Wales – Indigenous (Management Methods) https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/aboriginal-fishing).

Victoria – Indigenous (Management Methods) A person who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is exempt from the need to obtain a Victorian recreational fishing licence, provided they comply with all other rules that apply to recreational fishers, including rules on equipment, catch limits, size limits and restricted areas. Traditional (non-commercial) fishing activities that are carried out by members of a traditional owner group entity under an agreement pursuant to Victoria’s Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 are also exempt from the need to hold a recreational fishing licence, subject to any conditions outlined in the agreement. Native title holders are also exempt from the need to obtain a recreational fishing licence under the provisions of the Commonwealth’s Native Title Act 1993.

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 2018/19.

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 traditional 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. For details, see the policy document "Recognition of Aboriginal Fishing Activities” (https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/Documents/Policy%20for%20Aboriginal%20tags%20and%20alloting%20an%20UIC.pdf).

Toggle content

Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Southern Calamari - note confidential catch not shown

Toggle content


  1. Conron, SD, Bell, JD, Ingram, BA and Gorfine, HK 2020, Review of key Victorian fish stocks — 2019, Victorian Fisheries Authority Science Report Series No. 15, First Edition, November 2020. VFA: Queenscliff. 176pp
  2. Ewing, G, Forbes, E, Lyle, J, Krueck, N, Pecl, G and Tracey, S 2020, Where do Calamari spawn in Northern Tasmania and how will this information aid the management of the Calamari fishery in Northern Tasmania? Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Hobart, Tasmania.
  3. Giri, K, Hall K 2015, South Australian recreational fishing survey. Fisheries Victoria Internal Report Series No. 62.
  4. 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.
  5. Haddon M and Punt A 2018, simpleSA: A package containing functions to facilitate relatively simple stock assessments. R package version 0.1.10.
  6. 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.
  7. Hall, KC 2018, Status of Australian Fish Stocks 2018–NSW Stock status summary–Southern Calamari (Sepioteuthis australis), NSW Department of Primary Industries, Coffs Harbour.
  8. Hall, KC, 2020, Status of Australian Fish Stocks 2020 - NSW Stock status summary – Southern Calamari (Sepioteuthis australis). NSW Department of Primary Industries, Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia.
  9. Krueck, N., Hartmann, K., Lyle, J. Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery Assessment 2018/19
  10. Lyle, JM, Stark, KE, Ewing, GP and Tracey, SR 2019, 2017-18 Survey of recreational fishing in Tasmania. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Hobart, Tasmania.
  11. Moore, B, Lyle, J and Hartmann, K 2019, Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery assessment 2017/18, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart.
  12. Murphy, JJ, Ochwada-Doyle, FA, West, LD, Stark, KE and Hughes, JM, 2020, The NSW Recreational Fisheries Monitoring Program - survey of recreational fishing, 2017/18. Fisheries Final Report Series No. 158.
  13. Pecl, G 2001, Flexible reproductive strategies in tropical and temperate Sepioteuthis squids, Marine Biology, 138: 93–101.
  14. 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.
  15. Pecl, GT and Jackson, GD 2008, The potential impacts of climate change on inshore squid: biology, ecology and fisheries. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 18: 373–385.
  16. 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.
  17. Schnierer, S and Egan, H, 2016, Composition of the Aboriginal harvest of fisheries resources in coastal New South Wales, Australia. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 26:693-709.
  18. 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.
  19. Steer, MA, Fowler, AJ, Rogers, PJ, Bailleul, F, Earl, J, Matthews, D, Drew, M, and Tsolos, A 2020, Assessment of the South Australian Marine Scalefish Fishery in 2018. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2017/000427-3. SARDI Research Report Series No. 1049. 214pp.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Victorian Fisheries Authority Commercial Fish Production Information Bulletin 2019. Victorian Fisheries Authority, Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia.

Downloadable reports

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