PART VI. Mobula lucasana / The End of Nature
The 2006 article by Saenz-Arroyo et al. pointed me to many sources and provided valuable historical anecdotes.
On the assertion that Humboldt squid may be the single most productive fishery in the gulf, in terms of biomass: The total weight of sardines is larger, as is that of shrimp, but both of those are categories that include multiple species; when you divide them up into their constituents, the squid probably outweighs all of them. I say probably because I suspect the comparison is close with Monterrey sardine. Anyway, you get the point.
On the ecological phase shift in which large predatory fish have been replaced by Humboldt squid: Populations of Spanish mackerel are reported to have surged, along with the squid, in the late seventies, as if they too were benefiting from the removal of tuna. But the mackerel were immediately fished hard, and as their numbers declined, the squid continued to flourish.
Similar ecological shifts have been observed elsewhere in the world. (See my article "Sea Change".) In the Baltic sea cod fishery, for instance, overfishing of cod has led to a surge in the much smaller sprat. Sprat eat cod youngsters, and have therefore secured their place in the ecosystem--maybe. Its a cautionary tale for the practice of biomanipulation. There was much debate about whether the sprat should be fished aggressively to bring back the cod. Then, in the first years that cod fishing was drastically reduced, they started to come back. A recovery also seems to be afoot in the Eastern Canadian cod populations.
On the assertion that a manager has no reliable way of knowing how big a popualtion, left alone, could become, if a population is never left even remotely alone: Granted, he can turn to mathematical models and try to translate what he can estimate about the population—the ages of its members, their survivorship and fecundity—into a guess about its possible maximum size. But there are two big reasons to doubt such a guess. The first is the complexity of community ecology: A manager looking at the tuna population now, when it is checked by the newly dominant Humboldt squid, would not guess how big it was before it was fished down to its present, ecologically subordinate position. And the second reason is the complexity of organismal biology. Here is one example. Among grouper, very large mothers are disproportionately important to the population's reproduction. They not only produce a larger number of fry; they actually produce better fry, in the sense that minnows from exceptionally big mothers have the best chance of survival. But an overfished grouper population, as we've observed, is composed mainly of small fish. So if a manager were to measure the fecundity of today's population, he would badly underestimate its real potential. Yes, a manager could incorporate some important details of reproduction into his model, but for every fact we do know, there are many we do not. And in most cases, we probably don't know enough to be right about a population's maximum size.
Aburto-Oropeza, O. and Balart, E.F., 2001. Community structure of reef fish in several habitats of a rocky reef in the Gulf of California. Marine Ecology, 22(4): 283-305.
Aburto-Oropeza, O., Sala, E., Paredes, G., Mendoza, A. and Ballesteros, E., 2007. Predictability of reef fish recruitment in a highly variable nursery habitat. Ecology, 88(9): 2220-2228.
Aceves-Medina, G., Jimenez-Rosenberg, S.P.A., Hinojosa-Medina, A., Funes-Rodriguez, R., Saldierna, R.J., Lluch-Belda, D., Smith, P.E. and Watson, W., 2003. Fish larvae from the Gulf of California. Scientia Marina, 67(1): 1-11.
Aceves-Medina, G., Jimenez-Rosenberg, S.P.A., Hinojosa-Medina, A., Funes-Rodriguez, R., Saldierna-Martinez, R.J. and Smith, P.E., 2004. Fish larvae assemblages in the Gulf of California. Journal of Fish Biology, 65(3): 832-847.
Aceves-Medina, G., Saldierna-Martinez, R., Hinojosa-Medina, A., Jimenez-Rosenberg, S.P.A., Hernandez-Rivas, M.E. and Morales-Avila, R., 2008. Vertical structure of larval fish assemblages during diel cycles in summer and winter in the southern part of Bahia de La Paz, Mexico. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 76(4): 889-901.
Arvizu-Martinez, J., 1987. Fisheries activities in the gulf of california, Mexico. CalCOFI Report, 28: 32-37.
Baegert, J.J., 1771. Nachrichten von der Amerikanishchen Halbinsel mit eienem zweyfachen Anhand falscher Nachrichten. Churfürstl. Hof- und Academie-Buchdruckerey, Mannheim.
Barco, M., Portilla, M.L. and Tiscareño, F., 1973, 1980. The natural history of Baja California. Dawson's Book Shop.
Barco, M., Portilla, M.L. and Tiscareño, F., 1973, 1981. Ethnology and linguistics of Baja California. Dawson's Book Shop.
Bazzino, G., Salinas-Zavala, C. and Markaida, U., 2007. Variability in the population structure of jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) in Santa Rosalia, central Gulf of California. Ciencias Marinas, 33(2): 173-186.
Bolster, W.J., 2006. Opportunities in marine environmental history. Environmental History, 11(3): 567-597.
Boyer, C.R., 2012. A Land Between Waters: Environmental Histories of Modern Mexico. University of Arizona Press.
Browne, J.R. and Taylor, A.S., 1869. Resources of the Pacific Slope: A Statistical and Descriptive Summary of the Mines and Minerals, Climate, Topography, Agriculture, Commerce, Manufactures, and Miscellaneous Productions, of the States and Territories West of the Rocky Mountains. D. Appleton.
Cardona, N.d. and Mathes, M.W.t., 1632, 1974. Geographic and Hydrographic Descriptions of Many Northern and Southern Lands and Seas in the Indies, Specifically of the Discovery of the Kingdom of California. Baja California Travels Series, 35. Dawson's Book Shop, Los Angeles.
Clark, C.W., 1990. Mathematical Bioeconomics: The Optimal Management of Renewable Resources. Wiley, New York.
Clavigero, F.S., Lake, S.E. and Gray, A.A., 1937. The history of Lower California. Stanford university press.
Cooke, E., 2010. A Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the World, Perform'D in the Years 1708, 1709, 1710, and 1711, by the Ships Duke and Dutchess of Bristol Containi. BiblioBazaar.
Cotter, A.J.R., Burt, L., Paxton, C.G.M., Fernandez, C., Buckland, S.T. and Pax, J.X., 2004. Are stock assessment methods too complicated? Fish and Fisheries (Oxford), 5(3): 235-254.
Cudney-Bueno, R., Prescott, R. and Hinojosa-Huerta, O., 2008. The black murex snail, Hexaplex nigritus (Mollusca, Muricidae), in the Gulf of California, Mexico: I. Reproductive ecology and breeding aggregations. Bulletin of Marine Science, 83(2): 285-298.
Cudney-Bueno, R. and Rowell, K., 2008a. The black murex snail, Hexaplex nigritus (Mollusca, Muricidae), in the Gulf of California, Mexico: II. Growth, longevity, and morphological variations with implications for management of a rapidly declining fishery. Bulletin of Marine Science, 83(2): 299-313.
Cudney-Bueno, R. and Rowell, K., 2008b. Establishing a baseline for management of the rock scallop, Spoatdylus calcifer (Carpenter 1857): Growth and reproduction in the upper Gulf of California, Mexico. Journal of Shellfish Research, 27(4): 625-632.
Field, J.C., Baltz, K., Phillips, A.J. and Walker, W.A., 2007. Range expansion and trophic interactions of the jumbo squid, Dosidicus Gigas, in the California Current. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations Reports, 48: 131-146.
Gilly, W.F., Elliger, C.A., Salinas, C.A., Camarilla-Coop, S., Bazzino, G. and Beman, M., 2006a. Spawning by jumbo squid Dosidicus gigas in San Pedro Martir basin, Gulf of California, Mexico. Marine Ecology-Progress Series, 313: 125-133.
Gilly, W.F., Markaida, U., Baxter, C.H., Block, B.A., Boustany, A., Zeidberg, L., Reisenbichler, K., Robison, B., Bazzino, G. and Salinas, C., 2006b. Vertical and horizontal migrations by the jumbo squid Dosidicus gigas revealed by electronic tagging. Marine Ecology-Progress Series, 324: 1-17.
Ibanez, C.M., Arancibia, H. and Cubillos, L.A., 2008. Biases in determining the diet of jumbo squid Dosidicus gigas (D' Orbigny 1835) (Cephalopoda: Ommastrephidae) off southern-central Chile (34 degrees S-40 degrees S). Helgoland Marine Research, 62(4): 331-338.
Jackson, J.B.C., Alexander, K. and Sala, E. (Editors), 2011. Shifting baselines: the past and the future of ocean fisheries. Island Press, Washington, D.C.
Lluch-Belda, D., Lluch-Cota, D.B. and Lluch-Cota, S.E., 2003. Baja California's biological transition zones: Refuges for the California sardine. Journal of Oceanography, 59(4): 503-513.
Lluch-Cota, S.E., Lluch-Cota, D.B., Lluch-Belda, D., Nevarez-Martinez, M.O., Pares-Sierra, A. and Hernandez-Vazquez, S., 1999. Variability of sardine catch as related to enrichment, concentration, and retention processes in the central Gulf of California. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations Reports, 40: 184-190.
Lockhart, J.I., Bernal Diaz del Castillo, 1632,1844. The Memories of the Conquistador Bernal Díaz del Castillo Written by Himself Containing a True and Full Account of the Discovery and Conquest of Mexico and New Spain. J. Hatchard and Son, London.
Lotze, H.K. and Worm, B., 2009. Historical baselines for large marine animals. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 24(5): 254-262.
Markaida, U., 2006a. Food and feeding of jumbo squid Dosidicus gigas in the Gulf of California and adjacent waters after the 1997-98 El Nino event. Fisheries Research, 79(1-2): 16-27.
Markaida, U., 2006b. Population structure and reproductive biology of jumbo squid Dosidicus gigas from the Gulf of California after the 1997-1998 El Nino event. Fisheries Research, 79(1-2): 28-37.
Markaida, U., Quinonez-Velazquez, C. and Sosa-Nishizaki, O., 2004. Age, growth and maturation of jumbo squid Dosidicus gigas (Cephalopoda : Ommastrephidae) from the Gulf of California, Mexico. Fisheries Research, 66(1): 31-47.
Markaida, U., Rosenthal, J.J.C. and Gilly, W.F., 2005. Tagging studies on the jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Fishery Bulletin (Seattle), 103(1): 219-226.
Markaida, U. and Sosa-Nishizaki, O., 2001. Reproductive biology of jumbo squid Dosidicus gigas in the Gulf of California, 1995-1997. Fisheries Research, 54(1): 63-82.
Markaida, U. and Sosa-Nishizaki, O., 2003. Food and feeding habits of jumbo squid Dosidicus gigas (Cephalopoda : Ommastrephidae) from the Gulf of California, Mexico. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 83(3): 507-522.
Monteforte, M. and Carino, M., 1992. Exploration and Evaluation of Natural Stocks of Pearl Oysters Pinctada-Mazatlanica and Pteria-Sterna (Bivalvia, Pteriidae) - La-Paz Bay, South Baja-California, Mexico. Ambio, 21(4): 314-320.
Monteforte, M. and Cariño, M., 2012. Episodes of environmental history in the Gulf of California. In: C.R. Boyer (Editor), A Land Between Waters: Environmental Histories of Modern Mexico. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.
Montes, H.M.L., Pitcher, T.J. and Haggan, N., 2008. Shifting environmental and cognitive baselines in the upper Gulf of California. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 6(2): 75-80.
Nevarez-Martinez, M.O., Hernandez-Herrera, A., Morales-Bojorquez, E., Balmori-Ramirez, A., Cisneros-Mata, M.A. and Morales-Azpeitia, R., 2000. Biomass and distribution of the jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas; d'Orbigny, 1835) in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Fisheries Research, 49(2): 129-140.
Nevarez-Martinez, M.O., Mendez-Tenorio, F.J., Cervantes-Valle, C., Lopez-Martinez, J. and Anguiano-Carrasco, M.L., 2006. Growth, mortality, recruitment, and yield of the jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) off Guaymas, Mexico. Fisheries Research, 79(1-2): 38-47.
Notarbartolo-di-Sciara, 1988. Natural history of the rays of the genus Mobula in the Gulf of California. Fishery Bulletin, 86(1): 45-66.
Pinnegar, J.K. and Engelhard, G.H., 2008. The 'shifting baseline' phenomenon: a global perspective. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 18(1): 1-16.
Roberts, C.M., 2007. The Unnatural History of the Sea. Island Press, Washington, D.C.
Rosas-Luis, R., Salinas-Zavala, C.A., Koch, V., Luna, P.D. and Morales-Zarate, M.V., 2008. Importance of jumbo squid Dosidicus gigas (Orbigny, 1835) in the pelagic ecosystem of the central Gulf of California. Ecological Modelling, 218(1-2): 149-161.
Saenz-Arroyo, A., Roberts, C.M., Torre, J. and Carino-Olvera, M., 2005. Using fishers' anecdotes, naturalists' observations and grey literature to reassess marine species at risk: the case of the Gulf grouper in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Fish and Fisheries, 6(2): 121-133.
Saenz-Arroyo, A., Roberts, C.M., Torre, J., Carino-Olvera, M. and Hawkins, J.P., 2006. The value of evidence about past abundance: marine fauna of the Gulf of California through the eyes of 16th to 19th century travellers. Fish and Fisheries, 7(2): 128-146.
Sagarin, A.D., Gilly, W.F., Baxter, C.H., Burnett, N. and Christensen, J., 2008. Remembering the Gulf: changes to the marine communities of the Sea of Cortez since the Steinbeck and Ricketts expedition of 1940. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 6(7): 374-381.
Sala, E., Aburto-Oropeza, O., Paredes, G. and Thompson, G., 2003. Spawning aggregations and reproductive behavior of reef fishes in the Gulf of California. Bulletin of Marine Science, 72(1): 103-121.
Sala, E., Aburto-Oropeza, O., Reza, M., Paredes, G. and Lopez-Lemus, L.G., 2004. Fishing down coastal food webs in the Gulf of California. Fisheries, 29(3): 19-25.
Staaf, D.J., Camarillo-Coop, S., Haddock, S.H.D., Nyack, A.C., Payne, J., Salinas-Zavala, C.A., Seibel, B.A., Trueblood, L., Widmer, C. and Gilly, W.F., 2008. Natural egg mass deposition by the Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas) in the Gulf of California and characteristics of hatchlings and paralarvae. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 88(4): 759-770.
Wielgus, J., Ballantyne, F., Sala, E. and Gerber, L.R., 2007. Viability analysis of reef fish populations based on limited demographic information. Conservation Biology, 21(2): 447-454.
Wielgus, J., Sala, E. and Gerber, L.R., 2008. Assessing the ecological and economic benefits of a no-take marine reserve. Ecological Economics, 67(1): 32-40.