Monday, October 18, 2010

NOAA's Back - So Are The Squids

I was in Newport, Oregon this weekend saying hello to a few of the fine folks from the NOAA fleet who call this place home.

The past year has been a remarkable adventure for me personally with adventures around the planet looking for, and finding, white sharks in remote places.

Oregon is home to a healthy white shark population of its own.

But it wasn't the hunt for Carcharodon carcharias that caught my eye this weekend. Newport is also a thriving commercial fishing hub, and on this day I witnessed an ongoing problem for Oregonian fishermen being offloaded on the docks, the Humboldt Squid - Dosidicus gigas.

If you follow this blog you'll know of the work Scott Cassell and others have been doing with this critter in the Sea of Cortez.

As it turns out these animals are on the move, no longer preyed upon by the once thriving populations of blue sharks, mako, and tuna that kept them in check, they are now found on a regular basis in waters that would traditionally mark their arrival as a generational event - not a season one.

On this day I saw over 30 totes of these critters coming off one commercial vessel. There's really no commercial value for these animals and each tote means lost business, perhaps suggesting ecological imbalance.

Make no bones about it the oceans "canary in a coal mine" has eight razor tipped arms, weighs 160 pounds, and is an indiscriminate killer. A big problem, and one that I was fortunate enough to witness first hand in between meetings, slide shows, and a few cocktails with old friends.

Patric Douglas CEO

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