Squid fishing in Monterey Ca. Lots of boats, lots of squid.
Squid fishing in Monterey Ca. Lots of boats, lots of squid.
Squid fishing boats docked in Eureka for the first time Thursday, unloading 124,000 pounds of squid at the Fisherman’s Terminal.
Commercial squid fishermen from Southern California were drawn to the North Coast by following squid that were driven out of their typical habitat by a rise in ocean water temperatures, said Jeff Huffman, Eureka dock manager with Wild Planet, who helped to facilitate the docking and unloading of the squid boats.
With few squid left in their typical fishing zones this year, Southern California Sea Food, Inc., has been moving up the coast. On Wednesday, two boats fished in the area between the mouth of the Mad River and the False Cape, south of the Eel River, bringing the first boat into the dock at 2 a.m. Thursday and the second at 7:30 a.m., Huffman said.
“The squid fishery has always been a Southern California fishery, but because of the warm water down south the squid are all up here,” he said. “There have always been some squid here, but not in these numbers.”
Unusual patterns in the Pacific Ocean have shifted water temperatures, creating unusually warm water both to the north and south of California’s North Coast, said Eric Bjorkstedt, research fishery biologist with NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center and an adjunct professor in Humboldt State University’s fisheries biology department.
The temperatures have not grown warmer off the Northern California coast, which appears on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maps that track water temperatures as one of the only places along the West Coast that does not appear dark red — the color that indicates warming waters.
While this is not a typical El Nino year, Bjorkstedt said some patterns are consistent with the weather phenomena’s conditions.
“Normally in an El Nino, market squid do very badly — usually the catches go nearly to zero,” he said. “The reproductive success is not high, and the squid industry basically crashes for that year.”
Squid populations could be shifting north because of a change in water temperatures or shifting closer to shore because they are following a shift in nutrients and food supply, said Jeffrey Abell, chairman of HSU’s oceanography department.
Shifts in weather patterns and climate causes water temperatures and ocean nutrients patterns to change, he said.
“It manifests the shifts in ocean circulation, which alters the input of nutrients into the ecosystem, and then the organism responds to that and moves into a range where it is not usually found,” Abell said.
Either way, there is an unprecedented number of squid off the North Coast, Huffman said.
Southern California Sea Food, Inc., hopes to bring in 300 tons of squid every 24 hours, and the squid is then transported in trucks to Monterey, where it is processed at a company plant, he said.
Huffman added the company is limited by the number of squid that they can process, unload and truck, but not by the amount of squid in the bay.
“I think they can definitely catch more than we can actually get through the place and shipped out,” he said.
By Sunday the company will have five boats in the area, and they are hoping to continuing fishing here for two to three weeks, Huffman said.
Having the fishermen in town will be a boost for the local economy, he said, as the crew of more than a dozen people stays in local hotels, eats, shops, buys fuel and pays for moorings at the marina.
“This is a great plus to the whole waterfront and the town,” Huffman said.
The goal of the Fisherman’s Terminal was to bring in this type of business, he said. The dock is typically used for processing crab, salmon and some other fish, but being able to unload squid there adds another avenue for profit.
“It is a unique opportunity for the city to use its loading dock. Normally this isn’t something that we get to do,” said Eureka Councilwoman Marian Brady.
“It is all money that is coming back into our economy,” she said. “We definitely need industry, and this is a form of commerce that uses our bay for its purpose. We built all this infrastructure, and it hasn’t been used optimally.”
The city is working on plans to get a cold storage facility in town to keep even more of the business local, she said. All the squid is currently being taken out of town to be processed.
“But these three to five ships that are in here, that is adding a spurt to our economy,” she said.
This is a positive development for the economy and the city, said Ken Bates of the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association.
“This activity at Fisherman’s Terminal is exactly the kind of thing we were hoping to see in Eureka when this facility was built,” he said. “It’s exciting.”
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SQUID IN THE SPOTLIGHT: It’s sometimes difficult to narrow down what natural focus a town might have regarding the wildness that surrounds it. Sure, you could say that Klamath has strong ties to the redwoods and Big Sur to the condors, but most places snug against water or forest aren’t all that associated with a specific bit of nature above all others in the region. Monterey, though, is associated with quite a few. Whales, yes, otters, yes, sardines, yes, the Monterey Cypress, yes. And squid? We’ll wager that it is a rare day when the tentacled Pacific denizen tops otters and sardines in the list of “wildlife or natural wonders with Monterey cred,” but squidly creatures do have old connections to the Bay-close city. Squid fishing was once a prominent industry, and Monterey Bay Fisheries Historian Tim Thomas is considering it in all of its historic and fascinating context during two upcoming Wharf Walks. They’re set to set out on Saturday, Sept. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 4.
BUT SQUID-ORIENTED FACTS… aren’t the only thing on the table: calamari is, quite literally. Going with a “sea-to-table” theme, the Paluca Trattoria of Old Fisherman’s Wharf will serve Wharf Walk participants a “complimentary calamari appetizer” after the stories wrap. How often do we head out into a history-rich to-do only to end it with an edible related to the stories at hand? Not often enough. A bonus treat: Possible napping seals or sea lions off Finger Pier. Calamari, squid history, and snoozing seals? Yeah, that’s major Monterey cred right there.
TO FOLLOW… all of the upcoming Wharf Walks, keep an eye on the Fisherman’s Wharf page. And never fear, otters: You know you hold a special spot as the de facto fuzzy-faced ambassador of the M.B. area, but squids have played their role, too. Time to give them their briny due.
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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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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|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.