Squid jigging is carried out using mechanically powered jigging machines with 20 to 25 jigs attached to each line. Squid jig vessels operate at night in continental-shelf waters between depths of 60 and 120 m.
Squid jigging targets Gould’s squid.
How squid jigging works
Squid jigging vessels have overhead lights which illuminate the water and attract squid, which then gather in the shaded area under the boat.
The squid are caught using barbless lures on monofilament fishing lines which are jigged up and down in the water by machines. The jigs used are cylindrically in shape, and spaced approximately 1 metre apart. Instead of normal fishing hooks, each jig contains multiple tiers of closely spaced spikes, which face towards the top of the jig. When squid try to attack the jig, they become tangled around the vertically facing spikes.
Each jigging machine has a roller which extends out from the side of the boat, allowing the line to be lowered into the water column away from the edge of the boat, and be jigged up and down without causing abrasion to the line. Barbless lures are used so that as lures are recovered over the end rollers, squid fall off into the boat. This assists in reducing the handling time required to individually remove squid from the lures.
Environmental impacts and management
Due to the highly selective nature of squid jigging, there is normally no bycatch or interactions with protected species. Also, because the fishing gear does not come into contact with the bottom there is no damage to the sea floor or lost fishing gear.