Squid, Japanese flying

Todarodes pacificus

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — Jig
Capture area — North West Pacific (FAO 61)
Stock area — Japan
Stock detail — East China Sea, Yellow Sea, Bo Hai Sea, Korea Bay
Picture of Squid, Japanese flying

Sustainability rating two info

Sustainability overview

The Japanese flying squid fishery is one of the most commercially important squid fisheries in the world. The species have a low vulnerability, the size of the population is unknown though the IUCN consider the species as one of least concern. Their population fluctuates substantially with changing environmental conditions. Therefore, the following year’s population is estimated by monitoring the number of surviving adults at the end of the fishing season. The fishery is managed using Total Allowable Catch (TAC) quotas based on scientific advice. Squid jigging is a highly selective fishery and therefore the fishing activity has minimal impact on other species.


The Japanese flying squid is found in the North and West Pacific from depths of 0 - 500 m in coastal and open ocean regions. Their stock dynamics, growth rates, recruitment are vastly affected by environmental variability, particularly due to changes in sea surface temperature. Japanese flying squid are identifiable through three subpopulations. They spawn in three to four seasons. The Japanese flying sqid are short-lived and live for only about 1 year. They mature at around 20-25 cm Mantle length (ML) (female) and 17-19 cm ML (male). When spawning females produce around 300 - 4000 eggs.

Stock information

Stock Area


Stock information

The Japanese flying squid fishery is one of the most commercially important squid fisheries in the world, landing around 400,000 to 500,000 t per year. Catches in the region are predominantly caught by Japanese fisheries, followed by Korean fisheries. The region hosts three types of squid fisheries: distant, offshore and coastal fisheries.


Stock assessments are completed by Japanese, South Korean and Russian authorities. The fisheries are primarily regulated through licences and the Japanese Fisheries Agency manage the species through a Total Annual Catch (TAC) system since 1998 and a TAC is provided for both the autumn and winter cohort. The TAC is calculated using socioeconomic and Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) variables which are provided by the national fisheries research institute. Although the stock has been considered to be in a favourable condition, management measures are lacking in species-specific conservation measures and fishermen undertake practical management which has caused variation between the landings and the TAC allocated. Additionally, management has been criticised as the fishery is only accessible to those with fishing rights and management procedures exhibit a lack of transparency in decision-making and management plans lack objectives or numerical targets. Exploitation has developed considerably in recent years as fishery forecasting has evolved to incorporate increased knowledge about the stock dynamics and particularly its reaction to environmental variability.

Capture Information

Squid jigging is a highly selective fishery and therefore the fishing activity has minimal impact on other species. Studies in India have found that on very rare occasions, jigs can catch fish and marine mammals, though there is no local evidence of this. Artificial light impacts are unknown. Changes to the nitrogen biological pump interactions, coupled with high energy costs and emissions are possible impacts caused by artificial light in marine ecosystems. Marine Protected Areas are present in the North of Japan.


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