The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) will close the commercial fishery for market squid at noon on Nov. 21.
Based on landings information and projections, DFG has 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 March. Therefore, the fishery will remain closed until the current season ends March 31, 2013.
Market squid remains the state’s largest and most lucrative commercial fishery, valued at over $69 million last season.
DFG has been tracking catches daily in anticipation of reaching the harvest limit, which was established to ensure squid are not overharvested.
Domestically, market squid, Loligo (Doryteuthis) opalescens, is sold as calamari for food and as bait in the recreational fishery. Much of the market squid catch is frozen and exported overseas.
The squid fishery has been managed under the state’s Market Squid Fishery Management Plan since 2005. The goals of the Plan are to ensure long-term conservation and sustainability of market squid, reduce the potential for overfishing and provide a framework for management.
In addition to the harvest limit, only a limited number of commercial squid fishing permits are issued. The fishery is closed on weekends to allow for periods of uninterrupted spawning each week.
The Plan was developed under the provisions set forth by California’s Marine Life Management Act (MLMA), which became law in 1999. The MLMA created state policies, goals and objectives to govern the conservation, sustainable use and restoration of California’s living marine resources.
Image courtesy California Department of Fish and Game