Squid, Homboldt or Jumbo
Capture method — Jig
Capture area — Eastern Central Pacific (FAO 77)
Stock area — All areas
Stock detail — All Areas
The Humboldt squid population is unknown and is classed as data-deficient by the IUCN. The species is managed by escapement i.e. ensuring enough of the stock remains at the end of the fishing season for the following year. However, there are issues with Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing which can undermine management’s efforts. To become more sustainable, the fishery needs to improve enforcement activities and forecasting of future populations to accurately calculate appropriate yields for fishing seasons.
The jumbo squid is the world’s largest nektonic squid reaching sizes up to 4 m total length. Jumbo squid ranges have increased over recent years and ranges from subtropical North and South America and more recently found off southern Chile, the West Coast of the United States and even as far as Alaska. They range from 660 to 2,300 feet in the eastern Pacific. Environmental conditions have a significant impact on recruitment and their population size. Jumbo squid reproduce in two cohorts with an autumn/winter cohort and another in spring/summer and are highly fertile.
The jumbo squid is the world’s largest nektonic squid reaching sizes up to 4m total length. Jumbo squid ranges have increased over recent years and ranges from subtropical North and South America and more recently found off southern Chile, the West Coast of the United States and even as far as Alaska. Jumbo squid reproduce in two cohorts with an autumn/winter cohort and another in spring/summer and are highly fertile. The stock status of the Humboldt squid is unknown and the ICUN consider the stock as a data-deficient species. Their population size varies considerably with environmental variability, particularly due to El Nino. Since the 2009-2010 El Nino, landings have remained at historic lows, due to warmer sea surface temperatures and a lower coastal upwelling index. The converse is found for La Nina. Additionally, historic low landings are due to prolonged weak winds and extremely low chlorophyll a concentrations. This creates unfavourable habitats and feeding grounds for the squid which in turn means that squid mature at reduced sizes, grow to a smaller size and produce fewer eggs. Understanding the impact of environmental variability on squid is vital for managers can determine the size of the stock and how high to set the quota to maintain a sustainable stock. Whilst the stock status is unknown, a recent study proposed that global cephalopod species are increasing due to increased favourable conditions in terms of climate and food sources. Since fishing has reduced cephalopod predators, it has enabled cephalopod species to flourish in previously unhabitated areas. The Dosidicus gigas fishery began in the 1990s and since then, fishing pressure has significantly increased with catches peaking in 2004, since then catches have remained between 650,000 and 950,000 MT. The largest fleets catching the Humboldt squid are Peruvian, Chinese, Chilian, Mexican vessels.
The species is managed by CONAPESCA and are managed through escapement (i.e. where enough of the population must be remaining after the fishing season to populate for the next season). However, the actual management and enforcement of the stock are left up to individual countries within their exclusive economic zones. This has allowed major issues in Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing to emerge. To reduce the volatility of the species to environmental impacts, management have implemented a constant proportional escapement strategy to ensure that fishing mortality leaves a proportion of the stock to breed for the following season. However, the efficacy of this measures is limited as IUU fishing exists in the fishery at a debatable scale.
This fishery catches Humboldt squid predominantly through jigging which is a low impact selective gear which doesn’t usually interact with the seabed and therefore presents negligible impact on habitats and bycatch. However, Dosidicus gigas has been considered as an exceptional species as it plays a key role in the ecosystem. This warrants their protection, however, there is currently insufficient data to understand the significance of their role. This has not been identified in current management and therefore, poses a risk to food webs over a large geographic area. The ecosystem frequently will endure fluctuating populations of Humboldt squid due to their sensitivity to environmental variability, though fishing pressure further exacerbates the pressure on this species and the risk of their absence in food webs. To reduce the volatility of the species to environmental impacts, management have implemented a constant proportional escapement strategy to ensure that fishing mortality leaves a proportion of the stock to breed for the following season. However, the efficacy of this measures is limited as IUU fishing exists in the fishery at a debatable scale.
Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.Abalone
Clam, Manila (Farmed)
Crab, brown or edible
Crawfish, Red Swamp
Lobster, Norway, Langoustine, Dublin Bay prawn or scampi
Mussel, mussels (Farmed)
Oyster, Native, oysters (Caught at sea)
Oyster, Native, oysters (Farmed)
Oyster, Pacific, oysters
Prawn, King (whiteleg), prawns
Prawn, Northern, prawns
Prawn, Tiger prawns (Farmed)
Scallop, King, scallops
Scallop, Queen, scallops
Squid, Japanese flying
ReferencesZ.A. Doubleday, Prowse T.A.A., Arkhipkin A., Pierce G.J, Semmens J., Steer M., Leporati S.C., Lourenco S., Quetglas A., Sauer W. 2016. Global proliferation of cephalopods, Current Biology 26(10): pp.406-407.
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/256998507_Jumbo_squid_Dosidicus_gigas_landings_in_the_Gulf_of_California_related_to_remotely_sensed_SST_and_concentrations_of_chlorophyll_a_1998-2012 [accessed May 18, 2016].)
F. Keyl, J. Arguelles, R. Tafur. 2011. Interannual variability in size structure, age, and growth of jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) assessed by modal progression analysis ICES J. Mar. Sci., 68 (3) pp. 507-518
Nigmatullin et al., 1999, C.M. Nigmatullin, V. Laptikhovsky, N. Mokrin, R. Sabirov, U. Markaida. On life history traits of the jumbo squid Dosidicus gigas. A.E. Tresierra Aguilar, Z.G. Culquichicon (Eds.), In Libro de Resumenes Ampliados, VIII Congreso Latinoamericano Sobre Ciencias del March, v.1, Malpica, Trujillo, Peru, pp. 291)
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/222826783_Growth_mortality_recruitment_and_yield_of_the_jumbo_squid_Dosidicus_gigas_off_Guaymas_Mexico [accessed May 18, 2016].)