Posts Tagged Monterey Bay

Sep 1 2013

Researchers Find Deep-Sea Squid With Tentacle Tips That “Swim” on Their Own

MOSS LANDING, Calif – A new discovery shows that deep sea squid are slower swimmers with a weak, gelatinous body as compared to it’s brothers, but the Grimalditeuthis bonplandi has adapted its tentacles to become a fierce predator.

Until just a few years ago, marine biologists could only work with dead or dying specines of G. bonplandi that had been captured in deep-sea trawl nets. However, recent developments have allowed scientists to use video from underwater robots known as remotely operated vehicles (ROVs),  to study how these squids behave in their native habitat roughly one mile below the ocean surface.

The deep-sea squid Grimalditeuthis bonplandi seems to use a very different feeding strategy. A slow swimmer with a weak, gelatinous body, its tentacles are long, thin, fragile, and too weak to capture prey. Unlike any other known squid, its tentacles do not have any suckers, hooks, or photophores (glowing spots).

The lead author of the paper, Henk-Jan Hoving, was a postdoctoral fellow at MBARI from August 2010 until July 2013. He and his coauthors examined video of G. bonplandi taken during an MBARI ROV dive in Monterey Bay. They also analyzed video collected by several oil-industry ROVs in the Gulf of Mexico, as part of the Scientific and Environmental ROV Partnership Using Existing Industrial Technology (SERPENT) project. In addition, the researchers dissected over two dozen preserved squids from various collections.

When the ROVs first approached, most of the squids were hanging motionless in the water with their eight arms spread wide and their two long, thin tentacles dangling below. What intrigued the researchers was that the squids’ tentacles did not move on their own, but were propelled by fluttering and flapping motions of thin, fin-like membranes on the clubs. The clubs appeared to swim on their own, with the tentacles trailing behind.

Instead of using its muscles to extend its tentacles, like most squids, G. bonplandi sends its clubs swimming away from its body, dragging the tentacles behind them. After the tentacles are extended, the clubs continue to wiggle independently of the tentacles.

When threatened, instead of retracting its tentacles as most squids would do, G. bonplandi swims down toward its clubs. After swimming alongside its clubs, the squid coils both the tentacles and clubs and hides them within its arms before swimming away.

Read the full article here.

Aug 20 2013

Monterey Bay trawling deal hailed as a breakthrough: Fishermen, environmentalists long at odds

A “lava-in-water” effort to redefine trawling boundaries off the Central Coast may prove a turning point in the long-simmering relationship among commercial fishermen, environmentalists and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

The groups spent nearly a year negotiating a proposal that identifies areas the Pacific Fisheries Management Council should reopen and close to bottom fishing in the sanctuary. It was a task, participants said, that took its toll and tested the mettle of individual patience.

“There were times in it where everybody was pretty much fed up and ready to walk away, especially when the environmental groups got involved,” said Monterey fisherman Giuseppe Pennisi II.

“This was like mixing lava with water,” he said. “We had stuff boiling everywhere. We had to stop meetings and everybody go out and cool off.”

In the end, they came up with the hallmark of a good compromise: nobody got everything he wanted.

Sanctuary Superintendent Paul Michel described the outcome as a “precedent-setting, historic accomplishment.”

The “Essential Fish Habitat” boundaries were last set in 2006. Research since then identified new areas of coral and sponge that needed critical protection, said Michel.

At the same time, fishermen were unhappy with the hop-scotch effect of the boundaries. They were spending less time fishing than they were picking up and putting back nets to avoid protected areas.

“We just wanted to get some of our traditional places back that were just sand and mud,” said Pennisi. “Oceana just wanted real estate. They got back a lot more than what they gave up.”

Still, the third-generation fisherman credited the sanctuary’s Karen Grimmer, Monterey Harbormaster Steve Scheiblauer and Huff McGonigal of the Environmental Defense Fund for guiding the combatants to a “common goal” — more fish.

The proposal was submitted to the fisheries council July 31. That agency will submit its recommendation to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for final approval, a process that could take two years.

Geoff Shester of Oceana said the process was so encouraging that his group, historically at odds with fishermen, is hoping to reach a future consensus that would open trawling to prized parts of Monterey Bay, which sits in state waters, in exchange for additional closures in federal waters.

Read the full article here.

Two 70-foot trawling-style boats are docked in Moss Landing. (VERN FISHER/Herald file)

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.