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  • Ommastrephes pacificus  Steenstrup, 1880
  • Ommastrephes sloani pacificus  Sasaki, 1929
    FAO Names
    En - Japanese flying squid, Fr - Toutenon japonais, Sp - Pota japonesa.
    3Alpha Code: SQJ     Taxonomic Code: 3210505803
    Scientific Name with Original Description
    Ommastrephes pacificus  Steenstrup, 1880, Danske Viden.Selsk.Forh., 1880:79.
    Diagnostic Features
    Mantle slender, muscular.  Fins sagittate, relatively short, length about 40 to 45% of mantle length.  Funnel groove with foveola, no side pockets. Tentacular club expanded, robust, long; median manal sucker rings with sharp, triangular teeth alternating with flat, truncate platelets. Arms relatively short; arm sucker rings smooth proximally, toothed with about 10 to 14 graded, sharp teeth distally; right arm IV hectocotylized in distal third with suckers and stalks modified into low, conical papillae and comb-like protective membrane. 
    Geographical Distribution
    Western Pacific: 20° N to 60° N, excluding the Bering Sea. Northern and eastern Pacific; Japan north and east to Canada (disjunct?).
    Habitat and Biology
    An oceanic and neritic speciesoccurring within abroad temperature range from about 5° to 27° C,  usually in surface waters to 100 m depth and, to a minor extent, down to 500 m depth.During its lifespan of about 1 year a northward migration occurs first, followed by another one in southward direction, usually in close correlation with changes of the main surface currents. Large aggregations occur in small gyres and along oceanic fronts.
    Three independently breeding subpopulations can be distinguished in Japanese waters. The main group spawns in winter in the East China Sea, the second in autumn, west of Kyushu, and the third, minor group in spring/summer in the Sea of Japan as well as off northeastern Japan. Postspawning mortality is very high. The males of all 3 subpopulations mature before the females and transfer their spermatophores on the still immature females (in water temperatures of 13 to 18° C). With the progressing southward migration, females mature and spawn 300 to 4 000 small, elliptical or semi-spherical eggs (greatest diameter 0.7 to 0.8 mm) embedded in a gelatinous capsule (egg mass). Spawning occurs usually at water temperatures between 15 and 20°C, and, depending on the temperature, the larvae hatch after an incubation period of 102 to 113 hours.  Growth rates are directly related with temperature and inversely with size.Main food items are myctophids, anchovies (i.e., Engraulis japonicus ), crustaceans, gastropod larvae, and chaetognaths . Cannibalism is common.Predators include rays, dolphins (Coryphaena hippurus, balaen whales, and the northern fur seal ).
    Maximum mantle length 50 cm in females, somewhat smaller in males; maximum weight at least 0.5 kg, common 0.1 to 0.3 kg. Females attain sexual maturity at 20 to 25 cm mantle length, males at 17 to 19 cm.
    Interest to Fisheries
    The catch reported in the FAO Yearbook of Fisheries Statistics for 1996 was 715 908 t, of which ca. 444 189 t were taken in Japan and 252 618 t in Korean Republic. Japan continued to take the lion's share although that of the Republic of Korea steadily increased from approximately 10 to 15% to more than 33% in 1981. Up to the forties, the Japanese Todarodes pacificus fishery was only a small-scale activity with unpowered boats of 1 to 2 t, taking less than 100 000 t per year. In the fifties, well equipped, engine- powered boats of 10 to 30 t were introduced. They deployed more jigging lines as well as battery-powered lamps for light attraction. In the sixties, these boats were in turn substituted by even larger vessels operating with jigging machines and generator-driven lamps, this evolution going hand in hand with the development of improved handling and processing techniques. Furthermore, a 'fishery forecast' has been established for all fishing grounds in the Japan Sea and the western Pacific. Parallel to the decline of catches of T. pacificus, other species such as Ommastrephes bartrami are becoming more heavily exploited. The total catch reported for this species to FAO for 1999 was 497 887 t. The countries with the largest catches were Korea, Republic of (249 280 t) and Japan (237 246 t) .
    Initially, T. pacificus was processed into a dried product (surume) for both domestic consumption and export, but with the expansion of the fishery, other production lines evolved, such as raw squid (sashimi), a cooked and processed product (sakiika), frozen, and canned squid.
    Local Names
    CHINA : Yat boon yau yue (Japanese softfish).
    JAPAN : Akaika ,  Ganzeki ,  Matsuika ,  Mugiika ,  Surumeika ,  Tonkyu .
    Source of Information
    FAO Species catalogue VOL. 3. Cephalopods of the world An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Species of Interest to FisheriesClyde F.E. Roper Michael J. Sweeney Cornelia E. Nauen 1984.  FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Volume 3
    Araya, 1976 (migration)
    Arnold, 1979 (biology and fisheries)
    Clarke, 1966 (biology)
    Hamabe, . 1975 (biology); 1976 (fishery resources)
    Hibiya, 1978
    Kasahara, 1978 (jigging and forecasting techniques)
    Murata, 1973 (ecology)
    Okiyama, 1965 (feeding habits)
    Okutani, 1977 (resources); 1980
    Pavlychev & Shevstov, 1977 (relationship between hydrographical conditions and catchability)
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