Introduction To The South African Squid Fishery - Why Do Squid Catches Crash Intermittently?

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Ocean Science in Action - Oceans of the future

7. Environmental Drivers and Socio-Economic Consequences of the South African Chokka Squid Fishery Collapsing

7.1 Introduction To The South African Squid Fishery - Why Do Squid Catches Crash Intermittently?

Video duration - 05:18

The chokka fishery ranks fourth most important in South Africa in terms of its revenue.

The entire catch is exported ― mostly to the European markets of Spain and Portugal and is sold in USD. Chokka is considered a prized species and consequently fetch the highest squid price world-wide being around $6-8 per kg.

The chokka fishery is unique in South Africa as it essentially comprises a modern industrial sector (boats, equipment, blast freezers, product packaging, private financing and exporters) and fishers who are paid for their catch only.

The chokka fishery suffered its largest crash (crisis) in 2013 with the annual catch plummeting 80%. Although there have been other times of low catches in 1990, 1992, 1997 and 2001, this latest came from a 10-year period of high annual catches. The 2001 and 2013 crashes in particular had devastating socioeconomic consequences impacting all sectors of the mature fishery, but especially the livelihoods of the fishers and their dependents. The 2013 crisis was experienced over an 18-month period ― pushing the fishery to the brink of financial collapse. Strong sentiment from the industrial sector is that the fishery will not survive another crisis, as all-round reserves are now depleted.

In this video lecture you will learn about the squid fishery and about what caused this catch crash. Overfishing, recruitment failures, or disruption of spawning behaviour are all real possibilities. Can these low catch periods be predicted to forewarn the fishery?

Prof M.Roberts - NMU, South Africa / Prof W.Sauer - Rhodes, South Africa

Further Reading:

Roberts, M.J. (2005). Chokka squid (Loligo vulgaris reynaudii) abundance maybe linked to changes in the Agulhas Bank (South Africa) ecosystem during spawning and the early life cycle. ICES J. mar. Sci. 62(1). pp. 33–55.

Sauer, W.H.H., Downey, N.J., Lipinski, MR., Roberts, M.J., Smale, MJ., Glazer, J., Melo, Y. (2013). Loligo reynaudi. In Advances in Squid Biology, Ecology and Fisheries. Rosa, R., Pierce, G., O’Dor, R. (Eds). Nova Science Publishers, Inc. 33-72 pp.

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