Scientists devise technique to detect squid egg clusters on the seafloor
California’s $30-million-a-year squid fishery has quadrupled in the past decade, but until now there has been no way to assess the continuing viability of squid stocks. Scientists have demonstrated new sonar methods to detect egg clusters of squid (Loligo opalescens), pictured above, off Monterey, California. (Photo by Roger B. Hanlon, Marine Biological Laboratory)
Squid return annually to spawn and lay clusters of finger-sized egg capsules on the seafloor off Monterey, California. (Photo courtesy Roger B. Hanlon, Marine Biological Laboratory)
California’s $30-million-a-year squid fishery has quadrupled in the past decade, but until now there has been no way to assess the continuing viability of squid stocks. A multi-institutional team of scientists this month reported a new sonar technique to locate squid egg clusters in the murky depths, offering a window onto next year’s potential squid population in its nursery.
The scientists demonstrated the new sonar methods off the coast of Monterey, California, where fishermen harvest squid in April and May as the squid return annually to spawn and lay clusters of finger-sized egg capsules on the seafloor. The scientists learned how to distinguish subtle sound signals reflected off gelatinous egg clusters and the adjacent sandy seafloor, and they could detect egg clusters less than 20 inches (0.5 meters) across.
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