The common cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis
) is a large commercial cephalopod that attains a mantle length (ML) of about 45 mm and a body weight of about 4 kg. They are widely distributed inhabiting the continental shelve of the East Atlantic from Mauritania to Norway and the Mediterranean Sea at depths ranging from 0 to 200 m. Cuttlefish feed on worms, molluscs, small crustaceans and cannibalism is common when prey abundances are low; and they are preyed on by other fish, marine mammals and sea birds.
Juvenile cuttlefish inhabit nursery grounds in estuaries and semi-enclosed coastal areas for the first year of life before migrating to deeper, offshore waters. Adult cuttlefish reproduce between spring and early summer, with some individuals maturing and spawning at the end of the first year of life, but typically most spawning activity takes place in the second year of life. Cuttlefish die after investing vast amounts of energy into a single spawning event. Fecundity is between several hundred to potentially several thousand eggs. Cuttlefish enter the fishery between 60 and 120 days of age (Challier et al
., 2005) and live either one or two years.