African Journal of Marine Science

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Direct hydroacoustic observations of chokka squid Loligo vulgaris reynaudii spawning activity in deep water

MJ Roberts, M Barange, MR Lipínski, MR Prowse


Unusual and distinct hydroacoustic targets were observed in November 1996, May 1998 and November 1998 during routine pelagic biomass surveys off the south coast of South Africa. During the November 1996 survey, seven such targets were observed near the bottom at depths of 115–125 m, directly south of the traditional inshore spawning grounds of chokka squid Loligo vulgaris reynaudii at Cape St Francis. The targets were close to prominent seabed ridges and extended 30–40 m off the bottom. In May 1998, three similar targets were observed at depths 55–80 m off Plettenberg Bay, another well-known squid spawning site. The shallowest target was identified, by means of a midwater trawl, as a mixture of mature male and female chokka. During the November 1998 survey, nine similar targets were again observed on the squid spawning grounds at Cape St Francis, also adjacent to seabed ridges. Drawing on fisheries hydroacoustic experience and knowledge of chokka squid spawning behaviour, the targets are believed to be aggregations of spawning squid.

Keywords: chokka squid, hydroacoustic targets, spawning aggregations

African Journal of Marine Science 2002, 24: 387–393

AJOL African Journals Online