SCUBA News 197
(ISSN 1476-8011)

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Save $700 on Maldives Liveaboard this December!

Maldives Liveaboard

The Princess Haleema liveaboard visits the marvellous dive spots of the South and Central atolls of Maldives - perfect for those who like to dive with sharks. Book now for diving this December and save 42%.

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What's New at SCUBA Travel?

World's best dive sites

Diving Indonesia - What you need to know

Essential information for your trip to Indonesia - tipping, visas and, of course, the diving.
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10% off Scuba Diving Insurance

Guide to Diving Oman

The Sultanate of Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world. Tourism is on the rise, with diving being one of Oman's main attractions. There are up to 1500 different species of fish to be found in the coastal waters of Oman.
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Diving Dominica

Where to stay in Dominica?

The best diving in Dominica is nearly all on the Caribbean side of the island, so that is where to base yourself. See where divers recommend.
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10% off Diving Insurance

Travel insurance with no depth limits plus kit and technical diving insurance. Book up to a year in advance with code SD10.


Where to dive in the Andaman Islands?

For the best dive sites in the Andaman islands, is it better to go to a resort in Chidiya Tapu or Havelock?
Guido Antonini

Have you stayed in India's Andaman Islands? What did you think of the diving and your resort? E-mail

Which squid are OK to eat?

Where once the prawn cocktail was a staple of the restaurant starter menu, calamari has now become a diner's favourite. Stewed, fried, in salad or dried with coconut milk, squid has spread its tentacles across the menu of many high street restaurant chains.


Its rise in popularity has led the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) to increase the number of squid ratings in the latest version of its sustainable seafood advice - the Good Fish Guide.

Squid from Japan gets the green light but you should treat calamari from other fisheries with caution.

Squid by Leo Clifford
Photo credit: Leo Clifford

Squid stocks are thought to be as much affected by environmental pressures as fishing pressure, but fisheries still need to be well managed. Landings of squid worldwide have been increasing in recent years, and the MCS says that despite squids' high growth rates, short lifespan and other favourable fishery characteristics, some precautionary management is needed.

"Japanese flying squid gets a score of a 2 which means it's on our 'Fish to Eat' list'", says Bernadette Clarke, MCS Good Fish Guide Manager. "This is generally due to the highly selective and low impact fishing method known as jigging used in the fishery and the fact that stock assessment has been carried out. There's also a low vulnerability score for the species, and management measures are applied in the fishery."

A jig is a type of grappling hook, attached to a line, which is manually or mechanically jerked in the water to snag the fish in its body. Jig fishing usually happens at night with the aid of lures or light attraction and can happen on an industrial scale depending on the number and size of boats and number of jigs involved.

Homboldt squid fished for in the East Central Pacific is not as sustainable and should be eaten only very, very occasionally.

This species is one of the most heavily fished squid species in the world and because fisheries occur on the high seas and are accessed by several countries their management is complicated by the occurrence of Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported fishing.

Purse Seine
Purse Seine and pelagic trawling for squid use big nets on an industrial scale. The trawls commonly contain small meshes which capture protected species such as sharks, marine mammals and turtles and small sized and juvenile fish species referred to as "trash fish".

Squid are caught using light attraction from glow in the dark jigs to high wattage surface lights. It's still not clear why squid are attracted to the lights, but the light pollution from large-scale industrial squid fisheries is such that the glow from a single fishing fleet can apparently be seen from space

MCS says its advice is to choose squid from fisheries using low impact methods like small-scale jigging. "There's one such fishery in Sennen Cove, Cornwall, where fishermen go out in small punts and fish for squid using jigs," says Bernadette Clarke. "Fisheries in UK waters tend to be small, seasonal and non-targeted."

Squid – Good to Eat?

Atlantic or European Squid, Loligo vulgaris, Loligo forbesi

European squid
European squid

Depending on how and where it’s caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. This is fine to eat when caught by small, local fisheries.

Japanese flying Squid, Todarodes pacificus

This is sustainabily caught and fine to eat. They are caught in the Northwest Pacific – East China Sea, Yellow Sea, Bo Hai Sea, Korea Bay – using jigs.

Homboldt or Jumbo Squid, Dosidicus gigas

Depending on how and where it’s caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Check individual options to make the best choice.

Argentine short fin squid, Illex argentinus

Shortfin squid
Shortfin squid. Photo credit: Michael Vecchione, NOAA

Argentine shortfin squid is a short-lived and fast growing species, yet it is a very valuable predator and prey for a wide range of species including: fishes, seabirds, sharks and marine mammals. The fishery is the second largest squid fishery in the world with catches ranging between 500,000 and a million tonnes. The vast majority of the catch is taken by large (over 50 m) jigging vessels from several countries. As a result, coordinated international management is needed to manage the fishery sustainably, but this has been lacking since an international agreement between the Falkland Islands and Argentina broke down in 2005. This has led to overfishing in recent years.

This squid is likely to have significant environmental issues associated with its production – avoid.

Indian Squid, Loligo duvauceli

This squid is caught at sea by pelagic trawl. Sustainability is yet to be assessed.

Further Reading

Squid - the Prawn Cocktail of the 21st Century - but is it OK to eat?

Diving News From Around the World

Our round up of the more interesting underwater news stories of the past month. For breaking news see our Twitter page or RSS feed

Blue whales' unique feeding habits revealed by sensors

Blue whales' unique feeding habits revealed by sensors
Whales are the biggest animals to ever have existed on Earth, and yet some subsist on tiny creatures. How they do this is only just being uncovered.

Robomussels monitor climate change

Robomussels monitor climate change
Robot mussels have the shape, size and colour of actual mussels, but have miniature built-in sensors that track temperatures inside the mussel beds.

Fishing ban in four new marine reserves

Thresher shark gains protection
Known for its long whip-like tail, the threatened Thresher shark is among a number of marine species given extra protection at the recent Cites meeting. Devil rays and Silky sharks have also been given additional safeguards.

Red Sea coral

Auto 'finprinting' identifies individual sharks as they migrate
Finprinting uses the unique contours of a shark's dorsal fin as a biometric - rather like a human fingerprint or iris.

Sperm Whales Bring New Lingo to the Galapagos

Sperm Whales bring new lingo to the Galapagos
Distinctive sperm whale dialects reveal that the animals now swimming around the Galapagos Islands belong to clans that are totally separate from those that were around 20 years ago.

Sound blasts could keep whales away from wind farm construction

Sound blasts could keep whales away from wind farm construction
Warning signals that deter minke whales from wind farm construction sites are being tested in Iceland. It's the first time such acoustic deterrent devices have been used for this purpose.

Baby lobsters in hot water as ocean temperatures rise

Baby lobsters in hot water as ocean temperatures rise
A new study by scientists in Maine found that if global warming trends continue, lobsters will struggle to survive by the year 2100

A 400-Year-Old Shark Is the Latest Animal Discovery to Reveal the Secrets of Long Life

A 400-Year-Old Shark is the latest animal discovery to reveal the secrets of long life i
With an estimated lifespan of 400 years, the Greenland shark has just been reported to be the longest-lived vertebrate on the planet.

Seafood fraud found worldwide

Seafood fraud found worldwide
In-depth examination into global seafood fraud shows that it is still a serious problem, hurting consumers' health and wallets, and threatening marine wildlife and ecosystems.

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