Squid Loligo Vulgaris

Chokka (Loligo vulgaris) is only caught by means of a hand line attached to a special coloured lead jig with a multi hook head and a plastic colourful float, both called dollies. Chokka are caught every year by commercial and recreational fisherman. A special lure is used to catch the squid, called a Chokka Jig. This is a wooden lure with 2 lines of sharp spines where the hooks would normally be on a lure. This is because once the squid attacks the lure, it cannot get free. Once the Chokka has been caught it is either cling wrapped or vacuum packed and distributed to tackle shops. 

The Squid (aka Chokka in South Africa)spawn in the inshore areas of the Eastern Cape throughout the year, with this activity peaking in November and December. November presents an incredible window of opportunity for adventure divers, as this is a closed season for commercial chokka fishing, and the massive beds of chokka eggs and spawning chokka remain undisturbed.

The chokka run occurs during the peak mating, spawning and egg laying season for South Africa’s chokka. At this time, divers can descend onto massive beads of eggs and observe the dynamic life and interactions that occur above the vast beds of eggs.

A large range of predators take advantage of the high squid biomass during the peak spawning period. The most common are short-tail stingrays, diamond rays, spotted ragged tooth sharks (sand tigers), smooth-hound sharks, Cape fur seals, cat sharks and fish.


Chokka Dollies And Other Waste

The coastal area between Port Elizabeth and Plettenberg bay is  truly spectacular. From town to town or town to village there are  endless long stretches of beach and wild habitat that is home to a variety of species. One of my favourite and a recently discovered place is an area called Blue Horizon Bay that neighbours the Van Stadens Reserve. White dunes and fynbos is what you can look forward to seeing when visiting the area. All along the coast line you will find chokka dollies among other waste products that come from these boats. A chokka dollie is a special coloured lead jig with a multi hook head and a plastic colourful float that is attached to a hand line.

The problem with these dollies is that the bird life along the coast think that this is food. I have gone deep into the dunes where the water can not reach and discovered quite a bit of the chocca dollies. I am sure that other marine life also mistake the dollies for food and swallow it. The dollies are not the only problem and waste products coming from these boats. Plastic crates also go over board and are big enough for animals to get trapped and entangled in.