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The Loligo opalescens, also known as the California market squid, is a squid species that is a household name in the restaurant and fishery business. About 90% of the calamari that is served to consumers in the world is from this species (National Marine Fisheries Service, 2010). It was estimated that 203.5 million pounds of market squid in the California waters was harvested in 2009. They provide many nutrients, such as selenium riboflavin, and vitamin B12. They are also a crucial food source for a variety of other organisms, such as fish, birds, and marine mammals (National Marine Fisheries Service, 2010).
Loligo opalescens are fast-growing, yet short-lived (Jackson and Domeier, 2003). They live to about one year, then reproduce and die shortly after. They spawn all year round and in all depth ranges of the southern tip of Baja California to southeastern Alaska. The northern fishery season occurs from April through November and the southern fishery season occurs from October to March. The squid species is able to replace itself annually and so far has shown to be able to handle high amounts of fishing pressure (National Marine Fisheries Service, 2010).
In the 1990s, the Loligo opalescens’ value increased in price and catch, making them very valuable for the fishery in California (Vojkovich, 1998). This has also made them a target for recreational interests as well (National Marine Fisheries Services, 2010). To ensure that the Loligo opalescens species are a continual and viable living resource, the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) is responsible for managing the market squid fishery to comply with the Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery Management Plan. This is done by implementing seasonal catch limits, time and seasonal closures, monitoring programs, and permit systems (Forsythe, 2004; National Marine Fisheries Services, 2010).