Southern Calamari

Other names: calamari, squid, southern reef squid

Scientific name:
Sepioteuthis australis

Closed season: East Coast - from 15 October-14 November inclusive each year in upper south east waters area. North Coast - see seasons page for up to date information.

Area restrictions:
East Coast seasonal squid and calamari closure area includes all waters south from Lemon Rock (south of Wineglass Bay) to the northern end of Marion Beach (south of Maria Island) and includes Coles Bay, Great Oyster Bay and Mercury Passage. North Coast: - see Calamari closure area​ page for up to date information.

Minimum size:

Bag limit:

Possession limit:

Identifying features:
The southern calamari has arms, head and body similar to a squid but the side fins extend around the mantle rather than being arrow shaped.  They are capable of rapid colour changes from orange-brown to white and transparent depending on mood and environment.

Grows to:
Up to 38 cm mantle length and 2.1 kg.

Common over reef areas, sand and seagrass beds in shallow coastal waters around Tasmania, commonly in waters from 0-10 metres depth.  Calamari tend to form large aggregations during spawning in spring and summer.  

Fishing information:
Calamari are caught using squid jigs or baited squid lures.  Fishers use a jigging or casting action from boats and jetties or off rocks.  Often caught under lights around jetties at night.  An incoming or high tide is ideal and the presence of small patches of seagrass increases the chance of being successful.  Popular fishing spots include Stanley Wharf, Low Head, Petal Point, Eddystone Point, Coles Bay, Triabunna and Pirates Bay.  Black ink sprays on rocks and fishing platforms are a good indicator of a well-used fishing area.  Calamari are voracious feeders eating krill, fish and other squid.  They have rapid growth rates and live only for about 12 months.

Responsible fishing tips:
Can be damaged easily with poor handling.  If releasing, do so over the side of the boat as soon as possible.

Caution as calamari have a beak or mouth that can inflict a painful bite as well as the ability to squirt ink.

Calamari is tender when properly cooked with a delicate flavour.  It has low oil content and a firm white texture.  Prepare as whole hoods, tentacles or in rings or strips.  Popular deep-fried.  Can also be marinated.

Fish illustration by Peter Gouldthorpe

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