Rachael Myrow here, host of the California Report, with an AM post from somewhere else in California. We’re in this Golden State together. Right?

Off of California’s coast, bobbing beneath the waves of the Pacific, there is a huge, seething mass of squid.

Squid come and go in cycles, slinking toward our shores when the water is cold; skedaddling when warm El Niño periods prevail. But for the last 16 or so years, the squid spikes have been something spectacular. The California Report detailed one fascinating aspect of it back in 2005, and a few years later, KQED’s Quest team dropped into the story.

Scooting right along, I was reminded of the squidtastic situation today by a lovely feature on squid fishing in the Los Angeles Times. Yes, squidtastic is a word; coined, I believe, by SpongeBob SquarePants. (Unfortunately, the only way to see it in good quality requires money, but if you’re so inclined…)

Where was I? Right. The Times tells us Californians aren’t eating most of the squid the fishermen pull up.  “All but a fraction is shipped overseas to be served as calamari.”

Squid fishing exploded in the 1990s, along with the explosion in the squid population. The California Department of Fish and Game does enforce rules, but just the same, the squid fishing frenzy is worth more than $70 million a year. Squid has become California’s most valuable catch.

Conservationists fear fishermen are overdoing it. Oceana, Audubon California and the like are pushing for new protections for squid, sardines, anchovies, herring and other  “forage fish.” You know, to leave something for the seabirds, whales, and dolphins to snack on.

Author

Rachael Myrow

Rachael Myrow is KQED's South Bay arts reporter, covering arts and culture in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties. She also guest hosts for  The California Report and Forum, files stories for NPR and hosts a podcast called Love in the Digital Age. Her passion for public radio was born as an undergrad at the University of California at Berkeley, writing movie reviews for KALX-FM. After finishing one degree in English, she got another in journalism, landed a job at Marketplace in Los Angeles, and another at KPCC, before returning to the Bay Area to work at KQED. She spent more than seven years hosting The California Report, and over the past 20 years has won a Peabody and three Edward R. Murrow Awards (one for covering the MTA Strike, her first assignment as a full-time reporter in 2000 as well as numerous other honors including from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio Television News Directors Association and the LA Press Club. Follow @rachaelmyrow

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