Video: Squid study on Port Phillip Bay

A THREE-YEAR study funded by Victoria’s recreational fishing licence fees has found that certain areas of Port Phillip Bay are much more important to calamari breeding than others.

Fisheries Victoria Executive Director, Travis Dowling, said spawning habitats in southern and western Port Phillip Bay are more critical to calamari reproduction than those in the north and east.

“Wetting a line for calamari has become increasingly popular in Port Phillip Bay, for food and bait, so we wanted to know more about when and where they spawn, and what type of seafloor was most important for egg laying,” Mr Dowling said.

“The study found that the southern and western areas of the Bay including Lonsdale Bight, Point Nepean, Queenscliff and St Leonards, contained more seagrass, which is a preferred habitat for egg laying by large female calamari.

“The northern habitats in the Bay were characterised by more seaweed, sponges and sea squirts, and were typically home to smaller calamari and fewer egg clusters.

Fisheries scientist Dr Corey Green said the study confirmed that calamari in Port Phillip Bay are capable of spawning throughout the year, with a peak between spring and summer.

“Using electronic acoustic tags, individual calamari were observed moving relatively large distances, but many stay resident in the south of the Bay during the spawning season for about one week before moving away,” Dr Green said.

“One tagged calamari travelled 51km throughout the southern parts of the Bay over eight days.

“We knew calamari grew very rapidly and completed their lifecycle in less than one year, but we did not know they exhibited movement patterns like these.”

Dr Green said fisheries managers and anglers now had a better understanding of calamari populations in the Bay and could make more informed decisions about how to maintain this as a sustainable fishery.

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