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Aquatic species
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Squid Argentine shortfin squid
Target Species

Gear types: Vertical lines
Vessel types: Jigger vessels

OverviewSquid jigging using underwater lights takes place during the day but, depending on squid concentrations, are used during the night and hauled up later on.Species EnvironmentArgentine shortfin squid is an oceanic and neritic species occurring from the surface to about 800 m in depth. In autumn and winter (April to September) it is abundant on the lower shelf (50 to 200 m depth).Fishing GearEach line normally has almost 15 to 30 lures with hooks fitted at 1 m intervals (it is worth mentioning that on board a vessel the number of lures on a line had been reduced as the size of squid was anticipated to be larger). The colours of the lures can be: green, dark green, fluorescent green, red, fluorescent red, pink, fluorescent pink, light and dark purple, light, dark and fluorescent blue, clear and opaque white. At the end of each line a 1.5 kg weight is attached.Vessel OverviewJigger vessels around 1 000 GRT, 60 m long, 1 800 BHP main engine are fitted with 150 2 kW bulbs, plus, in addition, three underwater lights, 5 to 10 kW. For the jigging lines such vessels have almost 50 jigging machines (Hamade MY-3 double jigging arms (26 short and 26 long). A more advanced bridge control of the jigging machines has been developed in the recent past: more and more vessels (first Japanese, then Korean, followed by Taiwanese) have bridge controls fitted to monitor and manage all jigging machines; thus depth of fishing can be adjusted according to the echosounders indications. On such vessels, electric generators are used for all the jigging lights and freezer holds. On board 60 m long jiggers, there are three generators consuming approximately 3 Mt of fuel per day (most of the fuel consumption is by the generators as the main engine is off for 22 or more out of 24 hours on this type of vessel).Handling ModeTraditionally most vessels freeze the squid whole in trays according to size (No. of squid per tray: <10, 11-15, 16-20, etc.). However, decreasing prices have often prompted vessels to process squid into tubes/mantle, thereby reducing the amount of final product by half (tubes to whole is approx. 0.5), which allows a saving on transport costs.Fishing EnvironmentDepth of fishing with respect to surface is almost constant: generally daytime 15-120 m, then early night 80 m, then shallower, until approx. 30 m are reached. With 25-30 lures fitted at 1 m intervals, minimum operating depth with maximum catching capacity is therefore 25-30 m over fishing grounds of approx. 150 m.Fishing OperationsThis technique consists to keep the jigging lines moving constantly in the water. This is usually done by jerking the lines by using jigging machines, quickly pulling in the slack, jerking once again and so on, until the jigs are back to the surface. The line is then thrown out and allowed to sink to the desired depth, and the same jerking motion is repeated over again. Lamps with wattage between 5-10 kW are generally in use at great depths during the day and early evening until the squid concentrates around them. Then they are slowly raised, and often taken out of the water altogether.
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