Researchers Wondering Why Jumbo Squid Suddenly Moved North

by Tim Flanagan on September 28, 2009

Art Shotwell has the story in Anacortes Now:

Representatives of NOAA Fisheries Service got an earful from dozens of sport fishermen and whale watch operators over proposed new regulations designed to keep boats further away from Orcas than is current allowed.

More than 150 people filled the Port’s Warehouse Thursday night and, anemia in effect, told the NOAA representatives ‘no’ to the proposed regulations which would require boaters to stay at least 200 yards from Orcas. The regulations would include a half-mile wide no-go zone along the west side of San Juan Island from May 1 to Sept. 30.

Most of the crowd seemed to sport fishermen, charter operators, whale watch operators and kayak tour leaders. Complaints ranged from "you’ve got a huge gap in your data," to "the Orcas aren’t impacted by fishing boats now."

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Christopher Dunagan has the story in the Kitsap Sun:

The Humboldt squid, advice
a voracious predator that can grow to 100 pounds in two years, has captured the attention of researchers all along the West Coast.

Thousands of the mysterious creatures appeared suddenly off the Washington Coast and Strait of Juan de Fuca this summer. Some researchers say the aggressive animal, which has generally stayed south of California, has the potential to disrupt local ecosystems in more northern areas.

Why the squid arrived here and how long it will stay are just two of the questions researchers would like to answer. Since the squid eat just about anything — including young salmon — fisheries managers are looking for answers that can help them protect vulnerable species.

This week, Greg Bargmann, a biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and William Gilly, a Stanford University researcher, went about 20 miles offshore of Westport to catch a few dozen squid. Stomach contents were examined in about 30 animals. Another 24 were implanted with acoustic tags, which will allow researchers to track their movements through a network of acoustic receivers up and down the West Coast, including Canada.

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