Posts Tagged squid season

Jun 12 2014

Monterey Bay: Squid fishermen having boom year

20140605__mch-l-squidcutline-0606~1_GALLERY(Vern Fisher – Monterey Herald)

Squid fishermen are enjoying an outstanding season so far on Monterey Bay, where the water was crowded Thursday with 28 boats. The season opened on April 1. “It’s a 12-month season, but it’s limited by what’s called a max cap, meaning there’s a maximum amount of tonnage that can be taken,” said Monterey Harbormaster Stephen Scheiblauer. “Sometimes they’ll fish all year and never reach that max cap, but the last couple of years have been boom years for squid, and they’ve reached it fairly early. And this year, so far, has been dynamite, which is why we have all of those boats out there right now.”

Original post: Monterey Herald

Oct 26 2013

Boom Times for Squid Fishery

The Santa Barbara Independent

For the fourth year in a row ​— ​and with the fastest time ever since modern regulations began in 2005 ​— ​California’s squid-fishing fleet (pictured) hit its annual limit early, with the more than 100 permitted boats landing about 118,000 tons of the slimy species known as Doryteuthis opalescens by October 18, nearly six months before the season ends on March 31, 2014. Much of that haul came from boats working the Channel Islands and Gaviota Coast with bright lights at night, when it’s easiest to snag the squid as they spawn near the shoreline. From there, the Southern California boats deliver their loads to processing centers in Ventura, Port Hueneme, and San Pedro, which then freeze the squid and ship most of them to China. Together with the squid fishers up north in the Monterey Bay, the industry rakes in about $70 million annually.

“They’re the most valuable fishery in the state of California,” said Diane Pleschner-Steele, the Buellton-based director of the California Wetfish Producers Association, which represents commercial fishermen who catch squid, mackerel, sardine, and anchovy. “This was an unusual year. They were spawning way early and everywhere at the same time,” she explained, noting that her association’s research revealed more young squid in August than they usually see in the peak winter season. “It’s a phenomenon we haven’t seen before.”

Another twist this year was that the fishermen and processing centers were enlisted to help track the catch, filing reports daily so that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife would know how much fish was being harvested and wouldn’t shut the season early, as had been done in years past. “We were able to help the department and also maximize the value of the fishery,” said Pleschner-Steele, whose association spearheaded the unique relationship and one day hopes for electronic tracking. “It’s an uncommon partnership.”

Read the full article here.

Oct 22 2013

Squid season closes as fishery reaches harvest limit early

After a banner year, squid season ended at noon Friday.

That’s when the California Department of Fish and Wildlife expected fishermen to reach the seasonal harvest limit of 118,000 tons. The department tracks catches and closes the season when the limit is reached.

This year marked the earliest closure since the harvest limit was imposed in 2005. The fishery has reached the limit for the past several years, but not until November or December. A new season starts each April.

While squid fishing tends to have its busiest months during the fall and winter in Southern California, that changed this year.

“The squid showed up early in the summer months in Southern California,” said Briana Brady, a senior environmental scientist with Fish and Wildlife.

The fishing industry also worked hand-in-hand with the state this year to accurately track the daily catch, said Diane Pleschner-Steele, executive director of the nonprofit California Wetfish Producers Association based in Buellton.

Processors are required by law to report numbers twice a month. But this year, they sent in totals daily to help keep a more accurate count, she said.

Preliminary figures showed market squid landings had hit nearly 109,000 tons on Tuesday.

Read the full article here.

Squid - Juan Carlo, Ventura County Star

Aug 19 2013

California’s squid industry is booming

For years, the squid business in Morro Bay has been light weight, but this year, it’s heavy. Tons and tons of Market Squid are brought into the harbor every morning.

The abundance is because it’s spawning season. At this time of the year, Market Squid travel in massive schools to spawn and die.

The squid industry was volatile for a few years because the state did not want them to be over-fished, so regulations were put in place. Today, there is a limit on how many one boat can catch, and under new regulations, they cannot be fished on the weekends.

“This boat went out last night. They can get 40 tons in a couple hours,” said Giovanni DeGarimore.

The Ocean Angel threw nets just off the coast from Pismo Beach.

“They use these big nets. So they circle it and then they close it up at the bottom and scoop it all up,” he explained.

Once they’ve scooped tons and tons of squid, the boat heads back to Morro Bay to unload.

“We are unloading for Del Mar Seafoods. They are one of the larger producers of calamari in California,” said DeGarimore.

For Giovanni DeGarimore. the process is like a harvest. The tanks on the boat are connected to a suction tube that moves the squid onto a conveyer belt. The squid are then dumped into bins and iced.

Watch the story and read the article here.

California s squid industry is booming - KSBY

Jun 24 2013

How to prepare squid: How to clean, prepare and cook squid.


These are a few tips from our friends in the UK on how to clean, prepare and cook squid, note that the squid is a little larger than California squid, but the process is similar.
BBC Good Food
Points to remember:

  • Pull out the tentacles from the main body. Cut just below the eye and discard the innards. Discard the beak and then trim the long tentacles level with the rest.
  • Pinch the two fins together, thread thumb underneath and pull them away from the body, along with the membrane and discard.
  • Pull out the shell or ‘quill’ and then remove the innards using the back of a knife.
  • Cut the squid open, and scrape any more innards out and discard. Cut into slices, or score the squid and cut into pieces.
  • You can now cook the squid. Frying is a popular method – squid pieces just need to be cooked for 30-40 seconds on a very high heat. Serve immediately.

Read more tips and watch video here.

May 7 2013

MIKE CONROY: Squid Fishermen Fight Not ‘David vs. Goliath,’ More Like ‘Boy Who Cried Wolf’

Saving Seafood

Hearing claims of three squid brail (smaller boat) fishermen, one might think that the larger seine vessel squid fishermen are illegally catching all of the allowable quota.

But that’s just not the case. In fact, not only is there an abundance of squid in California’s waters – more than enough to go around – most of the brail-boat fishing fleet have no problem with the current management structure.

That’s because the squid resource is booming and most fishermen have been catching plenty of squid!

Read the full story here.

Dec 3 2011

Begich, Murkowski, Landrieu, and Nelson introduce bill to modify Magnuson rules on setting ACL’s

A bill introduced by Florida Senators Nelson and Rubio, with fairly bi-partisan support is being rushed through both houses of Congress that would make a significant improvement to the federal fisheries management process.Co-sponsors include Oceans Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska); Congressional Sportsmens Caucus Co-Chairman Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.); Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.); Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska); Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

The 2006 revision of Magnuson-Stevens required that NOAA set annual catch limits on all species, regardless as to whether there was scientific information to do so or not. The Regional Fishery Management Councils have to put in place ACLs for every fishery by Dec. 31, 2011. This provision has been interpreted to apply to every stock of fish under management, leaving Councils with the conundrum of either deleting stocks from federal management or applying highly restrictive ACLs based on very poor data – or in some cases, non-existent data.

NOAA presently has 528 stocks of fish or complexes of stocks under management. And there is updated stock assessment data on only 121 of the 528. The Fishery Science Improvement Act (FSIA) lifts the requirement to implement ACLs on stocks for which there is inadequate data and no evidence of overfishing. The legislation allows NOAA Fisheries to better conform to the intent of the 2006 reauthorization of MSA: ending overfishing based on sound scientific management.

The legislation directs NOAA Fisheries to set annual catch limits (ACLs) only on those stocks of fish for which they have up-to-date scientific information to inform that decision. The bill’s two conditions exempting a fishery from the ACL requirements are 1) the lack of a stock assessment in the prior six years and 2) the absence of any indication that overfishing is occurring. This will overturn the agency’s current interpretation that it must set ACL’s on all species, regardless as to whether it has any data or not.

Supporters of the bill have provided two examples of its positive impact with Mahi Mahi and North Pacific cod.

Read the rest on Saving SeaFood.



Dec 3 2011

Eating fish reduces risk of Alzheimer’s five-fold

'Chef's special Sashimi' photo (c) 2009, Geoff Peters - license:

Kounteya Sinha, TNN

CHICAGO: India’s fish eating population has something to cheer about.

A new research presented at Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Congress says that consuming baked or broiled fish reduces the risk for five-year decline to mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease by almost five-fold. The results showed that people who consumed baked or broiled fish at least once a week had better preservation of grey matter volume on MRI in brain areas at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

“This is the first major study to link fish consumption with reduction in risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI),” said lead author Cyrus Raji from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

“The findings showed that consumption of baked or broiled fish on a weekly basis was positively associated with grey matter volumes in several areas of the brain. Greater hippocampal, posterior cingulated and orbital frontal cortex volumes in relation to fish consumption were recorded,” he added.

The results also demonstrated increased levels of cognition in people who ate baked or broiled fish.

In MCI, memory loss is present, but to a lesser extent than in Alzheimer’s. People with MCI often go on to develop Alzheimer’s.

Read the rest at the Times of India.


Dec 1 2011

Fishermen, farming, mining groups decry ocean zoning

By Richard Gaines Staff Writer

A national alliance of fishing groups, including the Gloucester-based Northeast Seafood Coalition, and advocates for the nation’s farmers, ranchers, builders and miners have urged Congress to negate President Obama’s National Ocean Policy, rolled out in 2010 via executive order.

Fishing interests warn that the policy entails a kind of ocean zoning that threatens fishing industry jobs, while the land-based alliance expressed concern about executive overreach that might lead to decisions based on uncertain values and priorities, squelching business along inland waterways.

The White House has denied the policy is akin to ocean zoning, and, in two heated hearings by the House Natural Resources Committee this fall, Congressman Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, has scoffed at the worries.

“Opposing ocean planning is like opposing air traffic control,” Markey argued at the second hearing on Nov. 7. He described the opposition as engaging in “scare tactics.”

But the Republican majority, led by the committee chairman, Congressman Doc Hastings of Washington, agreed with the ocean zoning characterization in sparring with Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, who was representing the president.

Congressman Jon Runyon, a New Jersey Republican, said the top-down approach to the National Ocean Policy reminded him of the way that Lubchenco’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration introduced her catch share policy by top-down leverage.

“NOAA does not impose catch shares,” Lubchenco countered.

“I’ve never seen anybody dance around the answers like that, you never answer the questions,” Congressman Don Young, an Alaska Republican, told Lubchenco and Sutley.

Hastings said he doubted that the White House had the legal authority to introduce the National Ocean Policy by executive order.

Lubchenco also introduced catch shares — which has created a commodities market within fisheries and is widely blamed for accelerating job losses and fleet consolidation — without congressional input or approval in 2009.

“It’s a new fad bureaucracy, whether states want it or not,” said Hastings. “I’ve asked for the statutory authority, but I’ve only been given a hodgepodge list. They haven’t been concise. The Obama administration has decided that the president’s signature along is all that’s required.”

The National Ocean Policy involves new concepts, including marine spatial planning and ecosystem-based management, championed for years by Lubchenco.

Marine spatial planning’s closest terrestrial parallel is simple zoning. But, as White House officials told the Times last year, “instead of mapping it out,” nine regional advisory committees reporting to the National Ocean Council would attempt to work out how shipping, commercial and recreational fishing, recreation, aquaculture, mining and drilling and other uses might be fit together, if continued mining and drilling are allowed at all.

Read the rest of the story on the Gloucestor Times.

Nov 29 2011

Partnership Preserves Livelihoods and Fish Stocks

Stevie Fitz leases a fishing permit from the Nature Conservancy. He reports his catches as part of the group's effort to manage fish stocks in Half Moon Bay. (Peter DaSilva for The New York Times)


HALF MOON BAY, Calif. — Stevie Fitz, a commercial fisherman, was pulling up his catch in one of his favorite spots off of Point Reyes in June when he saw something terrifying — in his nets were nearly 300 bocaccio, a dwindling species of rockfish protected by the government.

There are such strict limits on catching the overfished bocaccio that netting a large load, even by accident, can sideline and even ruin an independent fisherman.

Still, Mr. Fitz did not try to hide his mistake by slipping it back into the deep. Instead, he reported himself. With a few swipes on his iPad, he posted the exact time and location of the catch to a computerized mapping system shared by a fleet of 13 commercial boats, helping others to avoid his mistake.

“It was a slap in the face,” he said, “but we are trying to build an information base that will help everyone out.” He was later able to sell the bocaccio, although the catch still counted against his quota for the year.

A lifelong fisherman, Mr. Fitz is part of a very unusual business arrangement with the Nature Conservancy, an environmental group that is trying to transform commercial fishing in the region by offering a model of how to keep the industry vital without damaging fish stocks or sensitive areas of the ocean floor.

Five years ago, the conservancy bought out area fishing boats and licenses in a fairly extreme deal — forged with the local fishing industry — to protect millions of acres of fish habitat. The unusual collaboration was enjoined to meet stricter federal regulations and the results of a successful legal challenge. But once the conservancy had access to what was essentially its own private commercial fishing fleet, the group decided to put the boats back to work and set up a collaborative model for sustainable fishing.

Bringing information technology and better data collection to such an old-world industry is part of the plan. So is working with the fishermen it licenses to control overfishing by expanding closed areas and converting trawlers — boats that drag weighted nets across the ocean floor — to engage in more gentle and less ecologically damaging techniques like using traps, hooks and line, and seine netting.

The conservancy’s model is designed to take advantage of radical new changes in government regulation that allow fishermen in the region both more control and more responsibility for their operating choices. The new rules have led to better conservation practices across all fleets, government monitors say.

“It is blowing me away what is happening out there,” said William Stelle, the administrator for Pacific Northwest region of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s marine fisheries service. But, he added, the conservancy “may be the most sophisticated example of the successful marriage of interests between the environmental community and the fishing industry in marine conservation.” Similar programs are beginning to appear in other places.

American fish stocks have been troubled since the early 1990s and remain so because of overfishing, pollution, and warming seas. The government says that today 23 percent of fish stocks are not at self-sustaining levels at current fishing pressure.

Congress passed a law in 1996 demanding that local fishery councils protect “essential fish habitat.” In 2006, it also imposed tight catch limits for overfished species. As a result, if a fishery exceeds its limit on just one of these species, under federal law, the entire area could be closed to commercial boats for a season.

Local councils have struggled to balance the inherent tensions of adhering to these limits without ruining the fishermen’s ability to make a living. To do this, they have imposed regulations like prohibiting fishing in some areas, dictating the catch season and limiting what techniques and gear are used.

But last year, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council replaced some of those restrictions with strict quotas on six imperiled species and parceled them out among all 138 commercial vessels along the coast. Government observers are now put on every boat to make sure there is no cheating.

The downside is that if one boat lands too much of a sensitive species, known as bycatch, it must be docked until it can buy another boat’s unused quota — and there is not always a market to balance the catch. The quota system also provides incentive for each fisherman in the risk pool to help prevent others from using up their quota. And the early results for fish stocks are promising. Bycatch has dropped from 15 percent to 20 percent of the total haul to less than 1 percent.

The Nature Conservancy first got involved in central California in 2004 when it was looking to invest in marine conservation zones. The group realized that it needed better information to preserve the most critical areas.

“What the fishermen had was a deep local knowledge of the habitats of certain species,” said Michael Bell, senior project director with the conservancy. “There wasn’t scientific information at that level that could match the fisherman knowledge.”

Read the rest from The New York Times.