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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The fishery for California market squid (Loligo opalescens) (Cephalopoda: Myopsidafrom 1981 through 2003


The California market squid (Loligo opalescens) has been harvested since the 1860s and it has become the largest fishery in California in terms of tonnage and dollars since 1993. The fishery began in Monterey Bay and then shifted to southern California, where effort has increased steadily since 1983. The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) collects information on landings of squid, including tonnage,location, and date of capture. We compared landings data gathered by CDFG with sea surface temperature(SST), upwelling index (UI), the southern oscillation index (SOI), and their respective anomalies. We found that the squid fishery in Monterey Bay expends twice the effort of that in southern California. Squid landings decreased substantially following large El Niño events in 1982−83 and 1997−98, but not following the smaller El Niño events of 1987 and 1992. Spectral analysis revealed autocorrelation at annual and 4.5-year intervals (similar to the time period between El Niño cycles). But this analysis did not reveal any fortnightly or monthly spawning peaks, thus squid spawning did not correlate with tides. A paralarvae density index (PDI) for February correlated well with catch per unit of effort (CPUE) for the following November recruitment of adults to the spawning grounds. This stock– recruitment analysis was significant for 2000−03 (CPUE=8.42+0.41PDI, adjusted coefficient of determination,r2=0.978, P=0.0074). Surveys of squid paralarvae explained 97.8% of the variance for catches of adult squid nine months later. The regression of CPUE on PDI could be used to manage the fishery. Catch limits for the fishery could be set on the basis of paralarvae abundance surveyed nine months earlier.

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