Profile updated on 31 March 2018





Dosidicus gigas


Jumbo flying squid


Humboldt squid

Jumbo flying squid in the Eastern Pacific extends from the waters off Chile to the North American coast. Californian and southern populations represent genetically different stocks with some migration among them, in a genetic structure apparently influenced by oceanic currents. Jumbo flying squid has no physiological or energetic limitations to move in this range, but there biological factors that determine the separation of the NE Pacific and SE Pacific stocks, such as preference for spawning areas, food availability and oceanographic conditions (Sandoval-Castellanos et al. 2010).

In Mexican waters, jumbo squid is most commonly found in the Gulf of California, with main abundances off the coast of Guaymas, Sonora and Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur (Nevárez-Martı́nez et al. 2000)(INAPESCA 2014).


No related analysis


Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:


Fishers Compliance:

≥ 6

Stock Health:


< 6

Future Health:



  • Mexico Gulf of California giant squid - jig:

    Stage 5, Progress Rating B


No related MSC fisheries


Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

Gulf of California Mexico Mexico Vertical Lines




Last updated on 16 August 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Support the on-going development of an appropriate stock assessment through the South Pacific RFMO.
  • Conduct studies, increase monitoring and publish information to assess the local impacts on ecosystem structure and function.
  • Encourage the prompt publication of fishery, scientific and management information on the jumbo flying squid fishery, generated by both the National Fisheries Institute (INAPESCA) and the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fishing (CONAPESCA), with special emphasis on scientific cruise reports, scientific recommendations and regulations.
  • Estimate and report the scope of any illegal fishing and under-reporting.
  • Improve traceability systems.



Last updated on 31 March 2018

INAPESCA (National Institute of Fishing and Aquaculture) is the Mexican institution in charge of assessing fisheries resources. The jumbo flying squid fishery in Gulf of California estimation of biomass is based on successive extraction and size-structured model. The model that is traditionally used is the analysis of stock reduction of Delur. Capture predictions can be made weekly or biweekly. Catches depend on the recruitment to the fishery and the efficiency of the corresponding fleets (catchability). Thus, the evaluation of the resource depends on the veracity of catch records and effort, and efficiency of biological samples (INAPESCA 2014).

Recently, (Zepeda-Benitez et al. 2017) proposed a methodological approach that has not been applied to stock assessment of squid population previously. The CAGEAN-JS model proposed by (Deriso et al. 1985) was able to estimate the variability of vulnerable and total biomass, peaks of recruitment, changes in fishing mortality and changes in survivability along a time series from May 2001 to December 2002.

According to the Fishery Management Plan, evaluations of the stock will be carried out annually and reported. However, it does not describe or specify whether peer evaluations should be made. Last biomass assessment report was conducted in October 2017 (INAPESCA 2018)


Last updated on 31 March 2018

The stock is not managed through quotas or TACs.The management scheme has been based on maintaining a biomass of 40% at the end of each fishing season (INAPESCA 2014), done by controlling fishing effort through allocation of licenses or fishing permits. The National Fisheries Institute (INAPESCA) bases estimates and recommendations on data analysis of catch and effort, landings size structure, as well as the information obtained by research cruisers (Nevárez-Martı́nez et al. 2000)(INAPESCA 2014). Collaboration among regional centers of INAPESCA, as well as other groups of researchers from other institutions, has allowed since 1995 to advance and update the knowledge of biological parameters that influence the behavior of the fishery (DOF 2014).

Reference Points

Last updated on 31 Mar 2018

The management scheme has been based on maintaining a biomass of 40% at the end of each fishing season (DOF 2014).


Last updated on 31 March 2018

According to the most recent squid prospection in the Gulf of California, biomass was estimated to be between 7,750 to 12,200 tonnes. Spatial latitudinal distribution during October 2017 was atypical, broader than the historically observed, but similar to the distribution observed in 2015 and 2016, markedly towards the center-south part of the gulf, with a relative abundance. Population size structure is mainly composed of small sizes (mode of 20 cm of mantle length) with less than normal voracious behaviour (INAPESCA 2018)

Fishing mortality estimates are expected to be available in the short term, based on actions from the management plan (DOF 2014).


Last updated on 31 Mar 2018

Jumbo squid biomass in the Gulf of Mexico presents high variability, apparently driven primarily by environmental factors. Peaks were observed in 2008 and 2010 ranging from 200,000 to 255,000 tonnes (DOF 2014). Recruitment seems to be lower during El Niño conditions (warmer than usual sea surface temperatures) and higher during La Niña (cooler than usual waters) (Robinson et al. 2013). CPUE reflects well the behavior of the fishery, as well as the behavior of the abundance of the jumbo flying squid population in the Gulf of California (DOF 2014).

Catches have varied according to the abundance of the species. Since the 1970s, squid discharges have grown from less than 100 tonnes (t) to a peak of 22,000 t in 1980, followed by a rapid decline to 500 t between 1982 and 1987. Catches increased again in 1989 to 6,500 t, declining again to 300 t in 1993. From 1994 support to the fishing activity began and catches showed a huge expansion, exceeding 100,000 t, but with a high inter-annual variability due to both environmental variations (El Niño and La Niña), extensive resource migrations and the interaction between squid and shrimp fisheries (Nevárez.Mártinez et al., 2014; (DOF 2014). Highest volumes are landed in Baja California Sur is (65.1%), Sonora (29.2%), Sinaloa (2.3%) and Baja California (3.4%) (DOF 2014).



Last updated on 31 March 2018

In Mexico, fishing activities are regulated at the federal level by the General Act on Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture (LGPAS). This law attributes the management of fisheries to the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fishing (CONAPESCA)(DOF 2015). The primary policy tools are official Mexican norms, as well as the promotion of an official public document called Carta Nacional Pesquera ("National Fisheries Charter") developed by the National Fishing and Aquaculture Institute (INAPESCA), which is reviewed every 5 years and includes all authorized Mexican fisheries.

This fishery has a well development research and management scheme, in which producers participate. There are currently existing permits for 250 larger vessels and 2,000 smaller vessels (INAPESCA 2014). Although there is a Fishery Management Plan for jumbo flying squid published in 2014 (DOF 2014), elements that support the management strategy are not publicly available, such as scientific cruises reports, scientific recommendation, regulations. There is a low level of transparency. Commercial fishing permits are issued to control fishing effort. 

INAPESCA recomended the promotion of the integral use of the resource, i.e. that only peak and viscera could be discarded, as well as the establishment of a data gathering system that allow timely information from producers for management purposes (DOF 2012).

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 31 Mar 2018

There is no a recovery plan for the jumbo flying squid fishery.


Last updated on 31 March 2018

Based on the General Law on Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture, CONAPESCA will be responsible for verifying and compliance with this Management Plan, as well as with the regulatory provisions of the Law, the official standards deriving from it, through duly authorized personnel, and with the participation of the Secretary of the Navy in the corresponding cases (DOF 2015). On the other hand, there is no public document specifying what are the sanctions in case of illegal fishing of jumbo flying squid, estimates of illegal or under-reporting.


ETP Species

Last updated on 31 March 2018

Dosidicus gigas does not fall under any of the categories listed by the national and international agencies (IUCN Red List, CITES) on endangered or threatened species, nor under any official standard of special protection (INAPESCA 2014). Likewise, because jiggers are a very selective fishing gear, no other species are captured as bycatch, therefore there are no risks of catching threatened or protected species by any national or international regime (DOF 2014). Globally, the range of discard rates for squid jig fisheries is 0-1%(Kelleher 2005).

Other Species

Last updated on 31 March 2018

Jumbo flying squid logbooks indicate catches are conformed 100% by this resource, without secondary or incidental species (DOF 2014). Jigs (poteras) is a fishing gear that does not require bait, it basically works with luminescence to attract squid. Still, ome fishermen have commented that they use squid head pieces or tentacles as bait, which makes their catch relatively easier, however, these comments have not been confirmed (INAPESCA 2014).

Jumbo flying squid may become incidentally caught in trawls in the Gulf of California (DOF 2014) and squid occasionally appears in seine nets of sardine vessels (INAPESCA 2006).


Last updated on 31 March 2018

Fishing of squid is nocturnal and with jigs, a fishing gear that is not expected to contact benthic habitats or other species. Despite general knowledge of low impact of jigs on habitats, monitoring should be conducted to confirm this, according to the long term objectives established in the Fishery Management Plan (DOF 2014).

Jumbo flying squid has an important ecological role in regulating energy flow patterns in the pelagic ecosystem of the central Gulf of California; it is one of the most important predators and is also the main food source for another important predator, the sperm whale (Rosas-Luis et al. 2008), among other species (DOF 2014). However, the management plan does not consider an ecosystem-based approach for management decisions.

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 31 Mar 2018

Natural Protected Areas (NPAs) are administered according to the Environmental Protection Law, its regulation, any applicable NOMs and the NPA´s required Declaration and Management Program. In the Baja California Peninsula and Gulf of California there is around 21 NPAs with coastal and marine ecosystems, managed at federal level by the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) (Stiles et al. 2014; CONANP 2018). Some of  these are: Gulf of California Islands, Biosphere Reserve of the Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta, San Pedro Mártir Island, The Vizcaino, Loreto Bay National Park, Cabo Pulmo National Park, Area of ​​protected fauna and flora of Cabo San Lucas, Biosphere Reserve of Islas Marías, Isla Isabel National Park, San Lorenzo Archipielago, Marietas Islands, and Ecological Conservation and Community Interest Zone Balandra.

In addition to NPAs, there are Fishing Refuges Zones defined as delimited areas under federal jurisdiction with the primary purpose of contributing (natural or artificially) to the development of fishery resources by protecting their reproduction, growth or recruitment, as well as to preserve and protect the environment that surrounds them. These zones are managed through the National Aquaculture and Fishing Commission (CONAPESCA), based on the technical opinion of the National Institute of Fishing and Aquaculture (INAPESCA).

FishSource Scores



Different components of this stock score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components of this stock score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components of this stock score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.


Different components of this stock score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components of this stock score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

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Last updated on 31 March 2018

  1. Biomass estimates are direct estimates of total biomass from acoustic surveys (DOF 2014)(INAPESCA 2018). 
  2. Fishing mortality estimates are not determined and the stock is not managed through quotas. Thus, scores were assigned qualitatively, where available information allowed.
  3. Catches time-series was obtained from (FAO 2018).

Download Source Data

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)


Access FIP Public Report

Progress Rating: B
Evaluation Start Date: 14 Jun 2017
Type: Basic


FIP rating remains B with stage 4/5 achievements within the last 12 months.

FIP Development
Aug 17
FIP Launch
Jun 17
Feb 19
FIP Implementation
Dec 18
Improvements in Fishing Practices and Fishery Management
Jun 18
Improvements on the Water
Feb 18
MSC certification (optional)
MSC certificate made public


Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications



SFP is grateful to Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A.C. for contributing to the development of the Mexican fishery profile.



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    Jumbo flying squid - NE Pacific

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