Where Has The Adriatic Squid Gone?

Total Croatia News

“There is none, no catch, gone… I catch two, three, four… sometimes none in an entire evening. What used to be kilos are now 15-20 decagrams…”

Those words were used by almost every squid hunter to describe his fishing success, whether in Zadar or on nearby islands. It seems this is the case all over the Adriatic, Slobodna Dalmacija wrote on January 8, 2018.

“They complain that we have fished it out with special nets,” says well known Zadar fisherman Nikica Ramov, who owns a fishing company with brother Denis, spending most of the year fishing as their only livelihood, “but this is simply not true. We don’t catch any either. There are none there. We’ve heard the same from other captains for whom squid was a secondary catch.“

Adriatic squid is a delicacy equally loved on the coast and the continent, albeit in the latter many still believe the natural form of squid is a – ring.

Squid is a sought after good, so buyers, especially caterers, have been facing an enormous increase in price in the past few months, up to 150 kuna per kilo on the Zadar market. Just ahead of Christmas Eve, when squid is equally valued as codfish due to tradition, prices were even higher.

Interestingly, on the largest Croatian food market in the winter period, the one in Zagreb, the price of squid did not surpass 120 kuna, but at the same time a kilo of octopus soared, at over 100 kuna.

There is no expert answer to what happened to the squid, as confirmed by prof.dr. Ivan Katavić from the Split Oceanography and Fishing Institute, also former Deputy Agriculture Minister, as it hasn’t only avoided fishermen’s nets, but is also missing from the radar of scientists and lawmakers.

The lawmakers didn’t even state the minimal permitted size of caught squid, and registration of the catch is mandatory only since last year. It is still being treated as secondary catch by many fishing tools. Interestingly, the minimal size is also not regulated in the rest of the European Union.

Many small fishermen on islands and along the coast would previously already have dozens or hundreds of kilogrammes of squid in deep freezers, as its price rises each year with the development of tourism. This was one of the significant sources of income for family budgets.

Scientists have not been monitoring the squid, their movement, habitat, or pelagic events. “The causes of the drastic diminishment of the commercial, adult squid population has not been elaborated enough scientifically, although the vectors of pressure on this resource are quite clear,” says prof. Katavić.

“One of the hypotheses of the causes is the usage of forbidden methods and fishing techniques, especially during the tourism season when their price is highest, so even the smallest squid are game. Although from March 1 to September 30 lights for grouping squid are forbidden, they are in relentless use. The population attracted by lights is then non-selectively fished. This encompasses a significant portion of the juvenile population. In the period from 2001 until today, the fishing of small fish has grown seven times, and squid was always in the nets as a secondary catch.”

Prof. Katavić allows for the hypothetical, unexplored possibility that climate change and some deep water events affect the squid numbers, such as jellyfish destroying baby squids, but also one brought up by Italian scientists who were looking into the reasons for the diminishing catch of cuttlefish.

Cuttlefish like to spawn in traps, and as a result their eggs are destroyed when the traps are surfaced. If something similar is going on with the squid, then it isn’t yet known.

“Luckily, squid is an easy regenerative and fast growing sea resource, so we may see its big return in just a few years. It just needs some rest,” says prof. Katavić and adds that in the future, we may breed squid in cages or something similar.

The Spanish are seriously working on the first projects of cultivating octopus, the second very sought after and tasty cephalopod.

“Inspections of the usage of lights in fishing need to be intensified, with stricter control over illegal lights and other fishing tools during the increased demand in the summer season. This is easier to write than to enforce as fishermen “catch money,” and it is easiest to catch during high market demand. Increased tourism, with significant effects for the GDP and its surplus will claim its “victims,” where even squid are not immune,” concluded prof. Katavić.

Translated from Slobodna Dalmacija.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment