California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Market Squid Fishery: Loligo Examiner - March 2001, Vol. 2, No. 2

Table of Contents

Proposed Legislation

To read more about proposed legislation, go to www.leginfo.ca.gov.

AB1296 (Papan) Establishes a limited entry program.
Increases permit fees to $1200.
Removes weekend closure.
Allows for permit transfer.
B1389 (Lowenthal) Director can implement a market squid fishery management and conservation plan.
SB209 (Sher) Changes permit fees to an unknown cost.

Squid Legislative Report

The Department's due date for the market squid fishery status report, which includes recommendations for squid conservation and a management plan, is quickly approaching. The Department will be making recommendations to the Director, who will approve the preferred options. The review path of the document to the Legislature includes the Resources Agency and the Governor's office before it becomes a public document. You can pick up a copy of the report at Department offices in Monterey, Santa Barbara, Los Alamitos, or San Diego.

The report should be finished with the internal review process by May, 2001. The executive summary will be posted on the Department's MLMA web page at that time. The website address is www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mlma.

Summary of Management Options

The management options are outlined here with pros and cons for each option. Remember, one person's pro may be another person's con.

LIMITED ENTRY

How many would initially qualify for a permit?

Market Squid Vessel Limited Entry - All participants must:

  1. Have a current market squid vessel permit,and

  2. During the time period January 1, 1990 through November 12, 1999:
Option 1. Have made 50 landings (74 vessels qualify).
Pro: More vessels will be allowed in the fishery.
Con: This is further from the capacity goal and would require more stringent transferability to achieve the capacity goal.

Option 2. Have made 75 landings (68 vessels qualify).
Pro: A vessel which has invested more time in the fishery will qualify for a permit. This is closer to the capacity goal, allowing for more liberal transferability rules.
Con: Some vessels that have been in the fishery for many years, but landing at low levels, may not qualify for a permit.

Brail Vessel Limited Entry - All participants must:

  1. Have a current market squid vessel permit, and

  2. During the time period January 1, 1990 through November 12, 1999:

Option 1.Have made 10 landings. Landings by one permit holder on a variety of vessels can be counted together, as long as they can be tied to the permit holder. To qualify as a brail boat, landings must be coded as using a gear type of brail, scoop, or dip net (9 vessels qualify).
Pro: A person may qualify for a permit even if they sold their boat.
Con: It's possible that landings may be claimed by the present and former vessel owner.

Option 2. Have made 10 landings. Landings are tied to the vessel, not the permit holder, and cannot be combined with landings from another vessel. To qualify as a brail boat, landings must be coded as using a gear type of brail, scoop, or dip net (8 vessels qualify).
Pro: A landing can only be claimed by one person.
Con: A person may not qualify for a permit if they sold their boat.

Market Squid Vessel Permittees that do not qualify for a Vessel or Brail Permit - All participants must:

  1. Have a current market squid vessel permit, and:

Option 1. Receive a light boat permit (114 - 121 vessels qualify).
Pro: Many light boats purchased market squid vessel permits to have the option of catching squid. These people will be able to remain in the fishery.
Con: This may increase the number of light boats, making it further from the capacity goal. More light boats may result in too much light in sensitive areas.

Option 2. Do not receive any permits (no vessels qualify).
Pro: There is no increase in the light boat fleet.
Con: Light boats that purchased moratorium vessel permits will no longer be able to participate in the fishery even though they have participated in the past.

Option 3. Have submitted one light boat log by December 31, 2000 to receive a light boat permit (27 vessels qualify).
Pro: Vessels that turn in their logs as required by law will qualify for a permit. This eliminates non-participants from future participation.
Con: Vessels that did not participate or send in a log will not be allowed in the fishery.

Light Boat Limited Entry - All participants must:

  1. Have a current light boat permit, and:

Option 1. Have submitted one light boat log by December 31, 2000 (26 vessels qualify).
Pro: Captains or owners who turn in their logs as required by law will qualify for a light boat permit.
Con: Those who participated, but did not turn in logs, will not qualify for a permit.

Option 2. Provide proof of 50/75 nights participation (i.e., receipts paid by purse seine vessels to the light boat for their services) between January 1, 1990 through November 12,1999 (unknown number of vessels qualify).
Pro: This allows many more active vessels to obtain a permit even if they have not been active during the past year.
Con: In the past, receipts were not sufficient legal evidence of participation. This may increase the size of the light boat fleet.

GRANDFATHERED PERMITS

(Fish and Game Code Section 8101.)

Market Squid Vessel Permit

  1. Have possessed a California commercial fishing license for the last 20 years (1981/82 -2000/01), and

  2. Have participated in the squid fishery for at least one season, and

  3. Have made 33 landings in one season, which is the seasonal average for permittees, and:

Option 1. Transferable Market Squid Vessel Permit - In addition to 1, 2, and 3 above, all participants must:

  1. Hold a current market squid vessel permit (8 vessels qualify).

Pro: Allows for entry of long-time (20 yrs) CA fishermen as required by law.
Con: If vessel owners did not have a commercial license for 20 years, they will not qualify. This would also increase the fleet size.

Option 2. Non-transferable Market Squid Vessel Permit - If participants meet the requirements of 1, 2, and 3 above, all participants must:

  1. Not possess a moratorium permit. These vessels will receive a non-transferable permit (unknown number of vessels qualify).

Pro: Allows for entry of long-time (20 yrs) CA fishermen who did not purchase a moratorium permit to still participate as required by law.
Con: Initially there would be an increase in the fleet's size. Since the permit is non-transferable, attrition will eventually reduce the number of permits.

Brail Permit

  1. Have possessed a California commercial fishing license for the last 20 years (1981/82 -2000/01), and

  2. Have participated in the squid fishery for at least one season, and

  3. Have made 10 landings in one season. To qualify as brail boat, landings must be coded as using a gear type of brail, scoop, or dip net, and:

Option 1. Transferable Brail Permit - In addition to 1, 2, and 3 above, all participants must:

  1. Hold a current market squid vessel permit (unknown number of vessels qualify).

Pro: Allows for entry of long-time (20 yrs) CA fishermen as required by law.
Con: If vessel owners did not have a commercial license for 20 years, they will not qualify. This could increase the harvest capacity of the brail fleet.

Option 2. Non-transferable Brail Permit - If participants meet the requirements of 1, 2, and 3 above, all participants must:

  1. Not possess a moratorium permit. These vessels will receive a non-transferable permit (unknown number of vessels qualify).

Pro: Allows for entry of long-time (20 yrs) CA fishermen who did not purchase a moratorium permit to still participate as required by law.
Con: This could increase the harvest capacity of the brail fleet. Since the permit is non-transferable, attrition would eventually reduce the number of permits.

Light Boat Permit

  1. Have possessed a California commercial fishing license for the last 20 years (1981/82 -2000/01), and

  2. Have participated in the squid fishery for at least one season, and

  3. Provide proof of 33 nights participation (i.e., receipts paid by purse seine vessels to the light boat for their services) in one season (unknown number of vessels qualify).

Pro: Allows for entry of past participants with CA fishing experience (20 yrs) as required by law.
Con: If vessel owners did not have a commercial license for 20 years, they will not qualify. In the past, receipts were not sufficient legal evidence of participation. This may increase the size of the light boat fleet.

CAPACITY GOAL

The capacity goal is the number of vessels that can take the recommended harvest (maximum sustainable yield, optimum yield, etc.). This is based on the recommended harvest level and the amount of squid each boat can catch annually. If limited entry is chosen as an option to manage the fishery, the Department is required to establish a fleet capacity goal. What will the capacity goal be?

Market Squid Vessel Capacity Goal - Goal numbers are based on an assumption of catching 125,000 tons in a season; the highest recorded catch.

Option 1. Base capacity on the assumption that each vessel will fish 130 days per season and land their theoretical maximum catch each day (10 vessels qualify).
Pro: Excess fleet capacity is eliminated, with the remaining participants operating as highly efficient squid specialists. The fishery would not be overcapitalized.
Con: This would be very disruptive to the fishery.

Option 2. Assume that each vessel will fish 45 days per season and land a volume of catch each trip equal to the largest landing previously made by the vessel (52 vessels qualify).
Pro: The fleet is more diverse and can participate in other fisheries.
Con: There will be some excess capacity in the fleet, leaving it somewhat overcapitalized.

Option 3. Assume that vessels fish 45 days per season at a historic average level (104 vessels qualify).
Pro: This allows for a very diverse fleet that may fish squid occasionally.
Con: There will continue to be significant excess capacity in the fleet, leaving it overcapitalized and less viable for remaining participants.

Brail Boat Capacity Goal

Option 1. Capacity goal equal to the number of initial brail limited entry permittees (8 or 9).

Option 2. Capacity goal equal to 18 vessels (provided a 15 short ton daily trip limit is established).

Light Boat Capacity Goal

Option 1. Capacity goal equal to the market squid vessel capacity goal (a 1:1 relationship).

Option 2. Capacity goal equal to the difference between the market squid vessel and brail boat capacity goals.

TRANSFERABILITY

Once the initial permits are issued, how will transfer options help achieve the capacity goal and aid the working needs of the fleet?

Limited entry permits are affixed to the qualifying vessel owner (or corporation) of record. The greater the difference between initial number of permits from the capacity goal, the more restrictive the provisions for transferability may need to be to achieve the capacity goal over time.

Option 1. No permit transfers except in cases of major mechanical breakdown or loss of the vessel.
Pro: This will allow for more rapid attrition of the fleet that will aid in achieving the capacity goal.
Con: This will likely not meet the working needs of the fleet and not allow new entrants into the fishery.

Option 2. Full transferability.
Pro: This provides flexibility to meet the working needs of the fleet.
Con: This will not help achieve the capacity goal if the fleet is greater than the capacity goal.

Option 3. Full transferability based on comparable capacity (within 5%).
Pro: This will restrict significant increases in fleet size while allowing for new vessels to enter the fishery.
Con: This will not help achieve the capacity goal.

Option 4. Transferability to a vessel of larger capacity under a '2 for 1' or '3 for 1' permit retirement.

2 for 1 - Permit holders wishing to increase their current capacity more than 5% and less than 35% must acquire an additional market squid vessel permit and surrender it to the Department for retirement.

3 for 1 - Permit holders wishing to increase their current capacity in excess of 35% must acquire two additional market squid vessel permits and surrender them to the Department for retirement.
Pro: This will allow vessel owners to increase their vessel capacity by transferring their permit to a replacement boat. This may help to achieve the capacity goal, if the capacity of the vessel whose permit is being retired is greater than the additional capacity of the new vessel.
Con: The cost of buying the additional permits to retire may be a drawback.

Brail Permits

Option 1. Full transferability
Pro: This helps to meet the working needs of the fleet, providing a daily trip limit for these vessels is implemented.
Con: There is no reason to restrict transfer of brail permits as they are a minor component of the fishery and do not significantly contribute to the fleet capacity.

Option 2. Full transferability based on comparable capacity (within 5%) - Should no daily trip limit be adopted for brail boats, this would be a viable option.
Pro: This helps to meet the working needs of the fleet without allowing significantly increased capacity.
Con: Average vessel capacity could increase over time.

CATCH LIMITATIONS

Daily Trip Limits

Option 1. Vessels - Establish a trip limit of 137.8 short tons (125 metric tons).
Pro: This is consistent with a precautionary approach and the Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries Management Plan. A trip limit will discourage entry of vessels significantly larger than boats currently participating.
Con: A few permittees may not be able to fish at vessel capacity.

Brail - Establish a 15 short ton (13.6 metric ton)trip limit.
Pro: A trip limit will discourage entry of vessels significantly larger than boats currently participating.
Con: Some permittees will be restricted from catching their vessel's capacity.

Option 2. Individual vessel trip limits - This would set a daily trip limit equal to the highest landing of squid (on record) for each permitted vessel.
Pro: For vessels that have not landed their maximum capacity, this would restrict their effort.
Con: Most vessels do not fish at full capacity and this would not restrict their effort. Different trip limits would be difficult to enforce.

Seasonal Landings Limitation - A maximum seasonal landings limitation does not allow the catch to expand beyond a maximum volume and may provide some stock protection. Seasonal landings limitations, however, do not provide protection when squid are less abundant and the cap is not reached.

Option 1. No seasonal landings limitation - Allows for unlimited increases in annual landings of squid.
Pro: Fishery growth potential is not restricted.
Con: Since we know very little about exploitation levels and squid sustainability, this is not a precautionary approach.

Option 2. Seasonal landings limitation - Establish a seasonal landings limitation of 125,000 tons. This is based on the highest seasonal landings total.
Pro: This prevents the fishery from expanding beyond the greatest volume to date.
Con: This may not provide protection if squid are less abundant.

Option 3. Maximum seasonal landings limitation based on projected environmental conditions.
Non El Nio seasonal landings limitation - 115,000 tons based on average landings for non El Nio seasons.
El Nio seasonal landings limitation - 11,000 tons based on average landings in El Nio seasons.
Pro: This will protect fishery if squid population has dropped because of El Nio. This is a precautionary approach.
Con: It is difficult to determine the beginning and duration of an El Nio event.

TIME CLOSURES

Time closures would allow squid to spawn without interruption by fishing practices (escapement) as long as squid are present on the spawning grounds during the closure.

Option 1. No time closures.
Pro: Lessens the need to fish in bad weather.
Con: The only escapement may come from poor weather, a strike, low market demand, or when there is not enough squid available to the fleet.

Option 2. Weekend closure - This is currently used as a precautionary measure to limit potential impacts to squid spawning activity.
Pro: A weekend closure might allow escapement, as long as squid are present.
Con: This can concentrate more fishing effort on weekdays. Bad weather can prevent fishing during the week, thus reducing catch.

AREA CLOSURES

Should additional areas be set aside for squid replenishment?

Option 1. No additional area closures.
Pro: Squid move depending on environmental conditions. This option allows the fleet maximum mobility when locating squid.
Con: There are no additional areas set aside for spawning escapement.

Option 2. Additional area closures - Close the offshore banks and all waters within depths of 100 fathoms around San Nicolas Island.
Pro: This may have the benefit of protecting both squid and other species that exist in the same area.
Con: Squid may not spawn in areas closed to the squid fishery, so there would be no benefit.

Option 3. Additional area closures to address potential interactions with nesting seabirds - Close Anacapa Island, Santa Barbara Island, and Prince Island at San Miguel Island to squid fishing activity within a one-mile radius during the bird breeding season.
Pro: This may benefit nesting seabirds and spawning squid.
Con: A percentage of the traditional fishing grounds will be closed, depending on the time of year.

GEAR MODIFICATIONS

Is it necessary to modify the method of take or use of fishing gear?

Option 1. No light wattage restriction - Allows for unlimited light use by the fleet.
Pro: Fishermen are not limited to 30,000 watts.
Con: This may have an adverse effect on nesting seabirds and coastal communities.

Option 2. Light wattage restriction - Restrict wattage used on any vessel fishing or lighting for squid to 30,000 watts. This is the current regulation.
Pro: This may reduce disturbance to nesting seabirds and coastal communities.
Con: This may reduce the squid fishery's ability to attract squid.

Option 3. Light shielding - All lights used to attract squid shall have the entire filament of the bulb shielded and the illumination oriented directly downward to decrease light scatter. This is the current regulation.
Pro: Reducing the light scatter may reduce disturbance to nesting seabirds and coastal communities.
Con: There is a possible safety and cost issue.

FEE STRUCTURE

Limited entry guidelines call for the establishment of an appropriate fee to implement such a program, while also providing funds for monitoring and research. Annual costs for existing Department programs dealing directly with market squid monitoring, research, enforcement, and license sales exceed $600,000. Although revenue is generated from taxes levied on squid landings ($3.80 per ton), this source of funding is variable and dependent entirely on the success of the fishery from year to year.

Option 1. Set limited entry permit fee to $5,000 (ex-vessel value of 20 - 35 tons of squid). Set transfer fee to $2,500 (ex-vessel value of 10 - 20 tons of squid).

Option 2. Set limited entry permit fee to $2,500. Set transfer fee to $5,000.

ADVISORY COMMITTEE

We propose a joint industry/science committee comprised of no more than 12 individuals. The committee will review both the ongoing research objectives and the squid fishery management.
Pro: There will be more awareness amongst committee members of research and management goals. This will make it easier to come to a consensus on a decision.
Con: Some portions of the squid fishing community may feel underrepresented.

RE-EVALUATION SCHEDULE

The adopted management measures will be reviewed in two years to evaluate the status of the resource and fishery, progress towards attaining capacity goals, and permit fees. A report based on the review will be written and presented at a public meeting.

Public Meetings and Written Comments

The Department held public meetings concerning market squid fishery management options on January 26 in Port Hueneme and January 27 in Monterey. The scope of the meetings was to receive input on management options presented by the Department from fishery participants and other interested individuals. There was a question and answer period and a public comment period. Participants were also invited to send written comments to the Department. Thank you to everyone who attended and/or sent written comments.

Limited Entry

Fishery participants were split on the idea of limited entry. Many favored limited entry to help those who depend most on the squid fishery. Other participants wanted to keep the current moratorium in place. Some felt the fishery should be open to any fishermen.

Qualifying Criteria

Comments on qualifying criteria varied. Several participants were in favor of continuing the two permit system. Many were in favor of linking permits to the fishermen, not the boats. Some felt special consideration should be given to those who fish for live bait for the sportfishing industry.

Seasonal Landings Limitations and Daily Trip Limits

Several comments concerned the Department not having enough data to establish a seasonal landings limitation. Most fishermen and processors did not feel a seasonal landings limitation was necessary. Some believed a 125 ton daily trip limit was unrealistic and favored a 30-50 ton vessel limit.

Fee Structure and Permit Transferability

The overwhelming response was for fair permit prices with easier permit transferability. Many felt the Department should not use strict transferability criteria as a way of meeting the capacity goal. Others felt light boat and brail vessel permit fees should be 20% of what purse seiners pay.

Time-Area Closures

There was more support for retaining weekend closures, as opposed to establishing other management options. However, some people felt that everyone had gotten used to the idea. Some commented on closing the fishery at the peak of spawning activity. The majority of participants are not in favor of any more area closures.

Gear Restrictions

Most favored the current restrictions on lights and shielding, with some wanting a maximum of 15,000 watts for lighting. Some requested a minimum distance of 1/8 of a mile between light boats to minimize conflicts.

Sardine Management Vs. Squid Management

Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax) and market squid (Loligo opalescens) fisheries are similar in many ways. Since there are many similarities in the behavior, life histories, and the fisheries, one would think it would be simple to use some of the same management strategies for squid that we use for sardines. Management strategies from the sardine fishery which may apply to the squid fishery include: limiting the size of the fishing fleet, seasonal landings limitations, and closing fishing areas.

The sardine fishery has been successfully managed for decades by way of a biomass estimate model. Currently, there is not enough data for a biomass estimate of squid. A biomass estimate is a fairly precise way to estimate the amount (weight) of a species over time. However, this requires many years of fishery data and can be expensive due to the need for continuous sampling. The sardine biomass model also uses several indices to track abundance. These indices took many years to develop. Development of potential indices for squid will take several years.

SIMILARITIES

Sardine Squid
Long history in California Long history in California
High volume fishery High volume fishery
Round haul net is primary gear Round haul net is primary gear
Very little bycatch Very little bycatch
Population can be affected by oceanic conditions Population can be affected by oceanic conditions
Females capable of producing thousands of eggs Females capable of producing thousands of eggs
Easily aged by looking at otolith Easily aged by looking at statolith
Limited entry Moratorium on new permits
No transferability of permit, unless vessel is lost, stolen, or scrapped No transferability of permit, unless vessel is lost, stolen, or scrapped while moratorium is in place
Many districts closed to any use of round haul gear Many districts closed to any use of round haul gear

DIFFERENCES

Sardine Squid
Up to 12 year life span Up to 12 month life span
Can spawn during multiple years Has one spawning period than dies
Caught in deep water Caught in shallow water
Usually caught away from environmentally sensitive areas Sometimes caught in environmentally sensitive areas (i.e. close to nesting seabirds)
Fifty years of fishery data Two years of fishery data
Actively managed species under Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries Management Plan Monitored only species under Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries Management Plan
Many fishery-dependent and independent indices used in management Very few indices, so far

Research Update

ASSESSING THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON THE CALIFORNIA SQUID FISHERY: AN INTEGRATED ECOSYSTEM APPROACH

by Drs. Baldo Marinovic, Don Croll, and Marc Mangel, Institute of Marine Sciences, UCSC

The world's most productive fisheries are located in coastal upwelling centers. Approximately 95% of the annual global production of marine biomass occurs in these upwelling centers. Unfortunately, we have only a limited understanding of how basin-wide shifts in oceanographic regimes impact coastal upwelling. Basin-wide shifts are long-term (30 -60 years) changes of oceanographic conditions, whereas, an El Nio or La Nia is a short-term change which may be part of or influence a long-term change. In particular, the potential impacts of climate change on ecosystem function in highly productive coastal upwelling centers cannot be assessed because we lack basic information regarding links between climate-induced changes in oceanography and critical ecological parameters such as changes in the food web, larval supply, and recruitment of commercially important species.

Squid feed almost exclusively on krill in Monterey Bay, particularly in the nearshore and pelagic feeding grounds. Similarly, preliminary data collected by UCSC within the Channel Islands indicate krill is the main component found within the diet of squid within this region, thus squid form the apex of a relatively simple, directly linked trophic system consisting of upwelling-induced nutrient enrichment, phytoplankton, krill, and squid. Market squid is an ideal species for modeling the effects of climate change on fisheries because it reaches maturity in one year, spawns, and dies. Thus, climatic variability and squid production are likely to be tightly linked.

We propose to establish the nature and magnitude of the link between the physical dynamics of two coastal upwelling centers in the California Current (Monterey & Channel Islands), primary production, zooplankton (particularly krill) production, and productivity in the centers of the most important commercial fish species in California (market squid, Loligo opalescens). Using this information, we will model various scenarios of the impacts of global climate change on nearshore krill productivity and this important commercial fishery. The model will also examine the economic consequences of the predicted changes.