Friday, August 11, 2006

Jumbo Squid Fishery in Baja

August 6, 2006

Here in the small mining town of Santa Rosalia on the Gulf of California side of the Baja Peninsula we have come to witness one of the largest panga fisheries in Mexico...Jumbo Squid! These animals show up just outside of town from April through November literally in the hundreds of thousands strong! Fisherman go out at night to catch the squid (Dosidicus gigas) and then bring the cleaned catch back to town for sale. Current value for a cleaned squid that might weigh as much as 30 kilos is less than 10 cents a pound! Each night more than 100 metric tons of this animal is harvested here in Santa Rosalia, with more than 100,000 metric tons being taken throughout the Gulf of California in a good year! No bait is necessary to catch a squid, simply lower a botera (special glow-in-the-dark squid hook) and the squid attack! They are then hauled to the surface on the hand line, where they are guarranteed to squirt water from their powerful jet on to everyone and everything (including my cameras!) It is hard and sweaty work that doesn't pay well at all, but the fishery runs six nights a week (Saturday night is a night off), and will continue as long as the squid stay...

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