Managing and forecasting squid fisheries in variable environments
Squid are short-lived ecological opportunists which generally have a lifespan of about 1 year. Their populations are labile and recruitment variability is driven, to a greater or lesser extent, by the environment. This variability provides a challenge to management because fisheries for short-lived species are best managed by effort limitation and it is difficult to set effort on a rational basis in the absence of information about the abundance of the next generation prior to recruitment. However, recent research has shown that recruitment variability in several squid species can be partly explained by environmental variability derived from synoptic oceanographic data. In the eastern Pacific coastal upwelling system a fishery for Dosidicus gigas has grown rapidly during the last decade and abundance and catch rates seem to be linked to the El Niño/southern oscillation (ENSO) cycle. ENSO is one of the best understood ocean/climate systems and so with increased knowledge of the life cycle biology of D. gigas, this fishery may provide a good model for understanding environmentally driven recruitment variability in exploited squid populations.