Humboldt squid invade the California coast.
The Los Angeles Times reports that fishermen have spotted large, blob-like squid off the Dana Point coastline. The newspaper notes that this is the first record run of the squid since 2011.
The squid, known as Humboldt squid, live at depths of 660 to 2,300 feet in the eastern Pacific, according to the Smithsonian. The squid, which can reach up to six feet and weigh as much as 100 pounds, take their name from the Humboldt Current. The Smithsonian notes that schools of squid surface at night to hunt lanternfish, shrimp and mollusks. They also have been known to eat other Humboldt squid that have been captured in nets.
The LA Times says that the blob-like squid are swimming to the top of the water to feed on krill that have arrived in the area due to tidal flow. According to the newspaper, a majority of the squid have been discovered three to four miles from Dana Point Harbor and approximately two miles off the beach.
In the video below, a group of fishermen can be seen hauling jumbo squid onto their fishing vessel.
The Smithsonian says that fishermen often take advantage of the Humboldt’s affinity for lanternfish by using lights as fishing lures. When threatened, the squid will attack, blasting divers or predators with water and ink.
“We saw a few of them last year, but nothing in fishable quantities,” Rick Marin, from H&M Landing, told San Diego Union-Tribune. “It has probably been two or three years since we’ve seen a lot of them.”
According to U-T San Diego, fishing for Humboldt squid is a blast. Literally.
Fisherman drop lines with hooks in the water and wait for the squid to bite on the hooks (no bait is needed). After the squid bite, a struggle ensues to wrestle the jumbo squid onto the boat’s deck, which is often soaked with inky water after a long night of fishing.
According to the Smithsonian, the impact of heavy fishing on Humboldt squid has yet to determined because ecologists know very little about the size of their population. Due to this lack of information, Humboldt squid are not protected by CITES or the IUCN Red List.
Part of the difficulty in determining the exact numbers of Humboldt squid is the fact that they spend a majority of their lives at depths that are unsafe for divers.
Have you ever been fishing for squid? Sound off in the comments section.