Alaska considers squid fishery development proposal
2017-12-29 18:38:36   copyfrom:    hits:

Market squid, Doryteuthis opalescens (Photo: Jaemar Seafood Processors)UNITED STATESTuesday, December 19, 2017,03:10

Market squid, Doryteuthis opalescens. (Photo: Jaemar Seafood Processors)


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Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 03:10 (GMT + 9)


Alaska Board of Fisheries is considering a proposal made by several fishermen to create a squid fishery in the Southeast area of the state. If adopted, it would lead to the development of a purse seine fishery for market squid (Doryteuthis opalescens).

Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) Regional Coordinator Karla Bush said that fishermen can apply for a commissioner’s permit if they think there is an opportunity to establish a new fishery and perform a fishing test, Juneau Empire reported.

.“This year we’ve issued three commissioner’s permits for purse seine gear. The first one was issued in 2014 but no fishing occurred,” Bush said.

Commissioner’s permits were issued for a jig fishery targeting a different squid species called armhook squid, Bush explained. Between 2012 and 2017, ADF&G issued 31 permits for that fishery, though fishermen were only able to harvest a small amount of squid.

The possibility of developing market squid fishing in Alaska arouse for the first time more than three decades ago, in the years 1982 and 1983.

Mike Navarro, a University of Alaska Southeast Assistant Marine Fisheries Professor explains Alaska waters are historically too cold for market squid to thrive. But that is changing as market squid follow warm water as it flows into Southeast during strong El Niño years.

“When they spawn, their embryos need the water temperature at least above 8 degrees Celsius,” Navarro said. “The reason is when they develop, they are on the seafloor for a period of weeks and if the water temperature dips below that threshold, then embryos don’t hatch.”

Market squid have been observed spawning in Southeast since at least 2015 when researcher Bridgette Malessa spotted them spawning near Sitka.

It is not clear yet how many squid are in Southeast, if there are enough for a fishery and if they will stay.

But long-term trends forecast the average ocean temperatures creeping ever upward, meaning market squid have at least a chance to gain a tentacle hold in Southeast and the Gulf of Alaska. 

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