The Southern Calamari
Calamari is the term applied to a range of both domestic and imported squids, however, the trade refer to the premium squid from the Eyre Peninsula as Southern Calamari- it is truly unique amoungst squids with a flavour and texture like no other.
The Southern Calamari are found en mass at the bottom of the Eyre Peninsula, with small amounts up both coasts, the Southern Calamari is the premier species of it's kind.With a life-cycle of just 18 months they can grow to 50 cm in length.Single fisherman, using hand-jigged lines, drift all day in their tinnies along the coast hugging the bays and points of Port Lincoln.
Photo: Robert Lang Photography
Can grow by up to 4cm each month- females usually faster than males growing to over 2kg- with most calamari not living any longer than 18 months.
These traits make calamari less suseptible to fishing pressure than longer lived, slower growing species.
Spawning occurs in the shallow coastal waters around the Eyre Peninsula and is concentrated during Spring to Summer. The finger-like egg capsules are laid by the females in masses of 50 to several hundred. On hatching, the juveniles swim to the surface and feed amongst the plankton layers.Southern Calamari are voracious feeders eating krill, fish and other squid found throughout in the onshore marine environment of the Eyre Peninsula.
Picture: www environment.sa.gov.au
Has long, rounded side fins running almost the full length of their body. Their eyes carry a range of iridescent colours, green, blue and purple. The flesh is typically a translucent/ pearl white.
The Southern Calamari prefers winds from the offshore, which delivers cleaner waters to congregate. Fisherman get the best catch at sunrise and sunset.Fisherman sometimes use two jigs at a time for maximum catch, while maintaining the industry standard of 20kg per fisherman per day.
Once caught, the squid goes straight into an ice slurry in a plastic tub to reduce the temperature, maximising shelf life through maintaining flesh texture and flavour.
A small amount of Southern Calamari is caught incidentally as by catch in the Spencer Gulf Prawn Fishery, and while generally the skin can be damaged and mixed grade, is frozen immediately on catch and thus retains its integrity of flavour and texture.
The Southern Calamari of the Eyre Peninsula has a mild, subtle flavour, low- medium oiliness, and is dry with firm texture, which can be tough if poorly prepared, though is generally more tender than most squids.
Information: The SEAFOOD of the Eyre Peninsula- Australia's Seafood Frontier Book