Nov 18 2011

Squid fishermen ask state commission to halt closure

'Fishing boats' photo (c) 2007, Peter Pearson - license:

Commercial squid fishermen are enjoying a banner year and have asked the California Fish and Game Commission to take emergency action and increase the quota for market squid.

The Department of Fish and Game announced on Nov. 10 that the commercial fishery for market squid will close at noon Friday, Nov. 18.

The Commission was told Wednesday at its meeting in Santa Barbara that the squid will die whether they’re harvested or not. The Commission asked the Department of Fish and Game for an update on the harvest numbers and quota, and the Commission also asked the state’s Deputy Attorney General about the process for emergency regulations. Those details are expected to be worked out later today or at tomorrow’s conclusion of the two-day meeting in Santa Barbara.

Commissioner Richard Rogers, the chair of the panel, said there was a “mind-boggling bio mass” of squid. The commercial squid fishermen said the cold water event that exists off California has led to an explosion in all bait species, from krill to anchovies, sardines and squid. The “ocean is rich with fish right now,” one squid fisherman said. “There is a large krill population, and the squid are eating krill.” Fishermen believe the state’s quota for squid does not take into account boom years such as this one.

The DFG decided to close the season based on landings information and projections. The DFG determined that the season’s harvest limit of 118,000 short tons of market squid will be reached by that date. The squid fishing season runs from April through the following March of each year. A closure would mean the fishery would remain closed through March 31, 2012.

Read the rest at The San Diego Union Tribune.

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