Southern Calamari Fishery


The commercial fishery for southern calamari developed rapidly in the mid-1990s, with landings peaking at around 100 tonnes between 1997/98 and 2003/04. Management interventions such as seasonal closures on some key spawning grounds on the east coast and the introduction of a limited number of species specific licences in the south east resulted in fishing effort spreading to other areas of the State. 

Southern calamari (​Sepioteuthis australis)

The Tasmanian Southern Calamari Fishery now has four components. The first is where you must be the holder of a fishing licence (southern calamari) to operate without catch limits in South East Waters. The second is the rest of State waters, where you are only required to hold a fishing licence (scalefish A) or (scalefish B) to operate without catch limits. The third is with commercial trip limits imposed if you are not the holder of a calamari licence or are the holder of a rock lobster licence or fishing licence (scalefish C). The fourth is as a recreational fisher with bag and possession limits.

Southern calamari are predominantly taken by squid jigs used on a rod or handline. Although other fishing gears, such as Danish seine, purse seine, beach seine, spear and dip net are also used — albeit to a lesser extent.

Over the past few years there has been increasing interest, both commercially and recreationally, in southern calamari on the north coast — to the level that the estimated recreational catch is now equal to the commercial catch of this species.

This increasing level interest and corresponding catch has raised the potential need for further management of the fishery in the north and investigation of measures which might be utilised effectively in this fishery.

Following a recommendation by the Scalefish Fishery Advisory Committee (SFAC), the Minister has tasked DPIPWE with examining the Calamari Fishery and to investigate the use of all management tools — including limiting access to the fishery in regions outside the existing licenced area — to ensure the sustainability of the resource, the economic viability of fishing operations and maximising the value of this resource to the State. It should be noted that all options for the management of this fishery will be considered. The evaluation does not mean any particular outcome will be pursued in the future.​

The Department will consult closely with the Scalefish Fishery Advisory Committee (SFAC), the Recreational Fishery Advisory Committee (RecFAC), the Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council (TSIC) and the Tasmanian Association for Recreational Fishing (TARFish).

Subject to the outcomes of this process any changes to the management plan would require the full statutory process for amending the rules — which includes mandatory public consultation to allow input from all stakeholders and licence holders.

Managing our calamari fishery

The publication of an investment warning was strongly recommended by the Scalefish FAC at the meeting held on 13 April 2018. Subsequently, information was released by the General Manager (Water & Marine Resources), Fionna Bourne on Thursday, 23 August 2018. ​

Media Release

The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) is reviewing the management arrangements for the State's Calamari Fishery.

The Calamari Fishery is a component of the commercial Scalefish Fishery that operates in Tasmanian coastal waters, predominantly along the south east, east and north coasts.

General Manager of Water and Marine Resources at DPIWPE Fionna Bourne says the review will investigate alternative ways to manage catch and effort.

"This review is about delivering holistic management and sustainability objectives and providing greater certainty for licence holders", Ms Bourne said. 

Ms Bourne stated all options for the management of this fishery will be considered and the review does not mean that any particular outcome will be pursued in the future.

Any changes to the management will require the full statutory process for changing the rules  which includes mandatory public consultation to allow input from all stakeholders and licence holders.

If any access arrangements are introduced based on historical activity in the fishery in terms of investment or catches in the fishery, any such investment or catches made after 23 August 2018 will not be considered in that process.

Only catch and effort information recorded up to and including the 23 August 2018 in the Commercial Catch, Effort and Disposal Record book and submitted to DPIPWE is likely to be considered in the event that access is allocated based on historic catches in the fishery.​

End media release.

For information on seasonal closures for parts of the Calamari Fishery please go to the ​closure page.

Review of management tools available

The Wild Fisheries Management Branch has released a paper titled "Review of the Southern Calamari Fishery - Analysis of management tools" (pdf below). The intention is to conduct an open and transparent process that genuinely reviews the management options available and investigating the attributes — both positive and negative —  that would apply to each of them. 

Comment has been sought from: 

  • Scalefish Fishery Advisory Committee (SFAC)
  • Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council (TSIC)
  • Recreational Fishery Advisory Committee (RecFAC)
  • Tasmanian Association for Recreational Fishing (TARFish)
We encourage commercial fishers and non-commercial fishers to read the paper and engage with the relevant representatives of the above organisations so that a broad range of views can be captured in this process.

  Review of the Southern Calamari Fishery   (422Kb)

Written comment must be provided to the Wild Fisheries Management Branch by close of business, Friday, 12 October 2018.

Recording calamari catch in your logbook

​Over the years there has been a notable catch of calamari recorded as being taken by "hand line" in the logbook. 

A reminder to all commercial fishers that if you use "squid jigs" on your hand line to take calamari or other squid species then you must record the Gear Code as "SJ" and not "HL" and record the total number of squid jigs you have used in the "amount of gear per set" column ​ as per the Gear and Effort Table on the fold out flap of your logbook. 

Remember if you set or use another gear type you will need to complete a new line in your logbook. Refer to the logsheet example.

  Example of how to record calamari fishing in logbook   (848Kb)​

If you require further clarification on how to complete your logbook please contact either the commercial Scalefish Fishery Manager or the Licensing and Fisheries Monitoring Branch.​


Wild Fisheries Management Branch
Level 3, 134 Macquarie Street
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS 7001
Phone: 03 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

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