Arrow squid (Nototodarus sloanii, N. gouldi) range from surface depths to 500 metres in coastal shelf waters around New Zealand. They have colouration that can flash iridescent red or green when excited, but fades to a pale brown/grey upon death.
Arrow squid are mainly caught around the coast of the South Island and off the Campbell and Auckland Islands, usually by mid-water trawling but sometimes by jigging.
Squid are a favoured food of seals and sealions, which sometimes accidentally get caught in trawl nets. To stop this happening, companies have developed a code of practice for catching squid by trawl in these areas. They have also built special mechanisms into their nets to help seals escape if they do accidently get caught.
Squid jigging is done at night using specialised boats. Powerful lights shine on the water to attract squid. Lures are set through a pulley arrangement and automatically jigged up and down in the light beams. When the machine controlling the line senses a squid has grabbed the lure, the line is hauled in. Lure hooks are barb-less, so that as lures are pulled in over a set of end rollers, the squid fall off into collecting areas.
New Zealand’s arrow squid fishery is managed by strict quotas, which allow only a set amount of squid to be taken commercially each year. This Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) was set at 127,332 metric tonnes for the 2009/10 fishing year.
Arrow squid exports in the year ending December 2009 were worth $NZ 75 million.
The three major markets for squid are Europe, Korea and China.
Almost all arrow squid is exported frozen.
Squid Meat Quality
Arrow squid have a light, subtle taste and firm, yet tender flesh.