SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A parade of boats powering bright lights at night is showing up between Carpinteria and Santa Barbara, very close to shore.
"We have a squid run going on right out in front of Santa Barbara," said Santa Barbara Harbor Operations Manager Mick Kronman.
Squid fishermen who normally find their catch by the Channel Islands, Monterey, Gaviota or Malibu, have located a massive population just a few minutes off the coast between Ventura and Santa Barbara.
"This is a highly sustainable fishery. It's regulated by quotas even though 118 thousand tons a year seems like a lot this is a massive volume of fish they are fishing on," said Kronman.
What's caught the public's eye at night are the bright lights off each boat. They bring the squid to the surface, and the haul is caught in large nets. Then it's off to the markets, and not necessarily close to home.
"It is big business. The fishermen are paid about $650. a ton for squid. A great percentage of it goes to China, they have a great appetite for squid and about 30 percent stays in the U.S. or it is sent over seas, and repackaged and brought back to the U.S.," said Kronman.
During the day you can see some boats "holding" the spots they believe will be good fishing locations at night.
They also have to keep from crowding the same fishing area.
"They do have rules to abide by and some times the squid will be congregated but they have to maintain an eighth-mile distance from net to net. It's a gentleman's fishery, most of the time. Most folks abide by the rules, but as you see, once you get an area of fish, the boats will be strung very close to each other," said Kronman.
Fishing has been extremely good, and already many fisherman have reached 80 percent of their quota.