||The distribution and abundance of the fleet targeting Jumbo flying squid (Dosidicus gigas) in the Eastern Pacific is examined during the 1999 fishery season. The commercial fishery consists of a multinational jigging fleet, which fish at night using powerful lights to attract squid. The emission of light from these vessels can be observed using satellite-derived imagery obtained by the United States Defence Meteorological Satellite Program-Operational Linescan System (DMSP-OLS). In order to quantify fishing effort using lights, data on the distribution and abundance of vessels were obtained via satellite tracking using the ARGOS system. The distribution of the fishery as derived from light signatures was found to closely resemble that derived from ship location data. By using ARGOS data to calibrate DMSP-OLS images, we are able to estimate fishing effort in terms of the ‘area illuminated’ by the fishing fleet. Light signatures derived from DMSP-OLS were successfully used to quantify fishing effort, estimating the number of vessels fishing to within ±2 in 85 out of 103 satellite images (83%). High seas fishing was also quantified, with light signatures corresponding to a single fishing vessel observed in 11 out of 103 satellite passes during the fishery season (July–December 1999). This study examines how much light (in terms of area) is emitted by a single squid fishing vessel, and may prove to be a valuable tool in assessing and policing fisheries using satellite remote sensing.