Jun 21 2013

Inked In Black: The Value Of Market Squid In Monterey Bay

Market squid create one of California’s most valuable fisheries.  Due to its high quality as a fishery product, these squid are much sought-after by seafood traders around the world. In fact, California has become one of the world’s biggest squid suppliers.  A growing taste for squid in restaurants has created a demand that now exceeds supply.  As a result, the value of squid is on the rise.  Check out the video below on the value of market squid in Monterey Bay from the perspective of a scientist, a student, a restauranteur, and fisherman.

A Native California Species:
Several species of market squid inhabit the world’s oceans.  However, California’s species (Doryteuthis opalescens) is native to the Pacific coast of North America.  These squid range  from Baja (Mexico) to southeastern Alaska.  The biogeographic distribution of market squid is similar to Pacific salmon and steelhead trout, which are also native to California.

Market Squid Fishery Management:

California's Top Squid Market Landing Docks

Squid catch is landed at six California ports. The fishery is divided into northern and southern regions. The northern fishery is active from April – September while fishing operations in the south run from October to March.

Monterey Bay and the Channel Islands form the centers of the northern and southern market squid fisheries in California.  Today, these centers lie within two marine sanctuaries.  Several Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Preserves have been established on traditional squid fishing grounds, as well.  Commercial fishing in these areas is now limited or restricted.  One benefit of  MPAs and marine preserves is to create replenishment areas for market squid and other fishery species.  In the case of  Año Nuevo, which is an island known for its elephant seal and sea lion rookeries,  restrictions  help ensure adequate squid for the diets of these federally protected marine mammals.

California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is responsible for managing the market squid resource.  Goals of the Market Squid Fishery Management Plan are:

1.) to ensure long-term sustainability and conservation of the resource, and

2.) develop a management framework that is responsive to environmental and socio-economic changes.

Read the full story here.


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