Hundreds of Humboldt Squid Appear Off Coast

Jumbo squid can be seen swimming in Pacific Ocean in Mexico and California

By Sarah Grieco
|  Monday, Jan 7, 2013  |  Updated 3:00 PM PDT
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Squid Everywhere

Courtesy of Seaforth Sportfishing

Seaforth Sportfishing captured this image of customers holding squid they caught off the coast of San Diego.

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Squid Everywhere

Hundreds of thousands of squid are attracting tourists and fisherman just off the coast of San Diego.
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Hundreds of jumbo squid have been spotted off the coast of San Diego this week, according to local fishermen.

The Humboldt squid, which are known to defensively squirt ink, can currently be seen just a few miles off the coast. They've appeared a few times before, typically in the colder months.

Nigella Hillgarth, executive director of Birch Aquarium at Scripps, said there are a couple reasons the squid have made a California appearance.

“They are coming up with the warming weather currents,” she said. “They are following their prey.”

It was once hypothesized the squid might be breeding off the West Coast, but research from Stanford University suggests they are merely looking for food.

Though the squid have strength in numbers, they are weaker when it comes to shoreline water quality. The invertebrates will often beach themselves because they become ill.

“Blooms of algae suggest they may be more sensitive to low toxicity,” said Hillgarth.

She also advises people not to touch the squid if they’ve been beached as they as they might be diseased.

It is, however, perfectly legal to go fishing for squid. Seaforth Sportfishing captured pictures (seen right) of customers holding the creatures after an excursion along the San Diego coast.

But how long will the squid be here? Right now, researchers are working to find out.

“My best guess is while there is still food,” Hillgarth said.

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