Sea temperatures, overfishing hurt Japan’s squid stocks

Published on
February 15, 2018

Japan’s catch of Pacific flying squid (Todarodes pacificus) in the 2017 calendar year was 47,000 metric tons (MT), down 20 percent from the previous year and the lowest on record, according to a Nikkei Shimbun report. 

However, buyers did not see a price increase because prices were already high in 2016, according to the report.

The cause for the lower catch most likely lies with colder seawater in squid spawning areas, leading to poor survival rates, the report said. Squid only live for about a year, and die after spawning. The stock is historically subject to frequent large fluctuations. Since the 1990s, around 200,000 MT a year has been the norm, but it decreased to less than 68,000 tons in 2016.

Overfishing was also a factor, the report added. Chinese and North Korean vessels have been increasingly targeting squid just outside—and sometimes even inside—Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

Japan’s Fisheries Agency announced on 12 January a squid catch quota for the fiscal year ending 2018 of 97,000 metric tons. The total is down by 30 percent from the FY 2017 quota, and is the lowest on record.

Contributing Editor reporting from Osaka, Japan

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