Hello All, So, this is my 1000th post. First off, I’m sorry that its been a long time… okay, a VERY long time… since my last post. A lot has happened since then. You might say that 2006 was a very, very, VERY dark year for me. Some terrible losses and some terrible events happened to me – earth shattering events in their own right, where I am concerned. It led to the eventual depression, and all the wonderful pitfalls of collapsing health and sanity which inevitably follows. I’ll spare you the details. I don’t want pity, I don’t want any special treatment. I’m not the prodigal son. So… There I was wallowing in self-pity like Achilles in his tent when I read the newspaper. A local guy squawking about global warming. And then another. For weeks, I have read unscientific arguments about scientific issues. I read people dragging science through the mud, doubting its validity, or politicizing it to death. Something in me snapped. I realized that some bizarre forces are drawing a bead on science education issues, and I didn’t have a hand with which to draw a weapon to defend. I needed to get back on that horse and start writing again. That begins right here, right now. Oh, I have my hand back. And to quote the good Tenth Doctor “You wanna know the best bit? This new hand... it's a fightin hand!” Without further ado, here is the first of what I hope to be many posts: This Spring I attended the 2006 Western Wildlife Conclave. My wife talked me into attending, and even into presenting. I chose fisheries, namely that of the California Market Squid, Loligo opalensis. My presentation dealt with some issues that I felt were important when dealing with Loligo as a commercial catch. I noted about management issues, the fact that 78% of worldwide squid consumption occurs in China, Taiwan, India, South Korea, and Thailand. Methods of egg mass detection, fishing techniques, and the effects of El Niño years on squid fisheries and the squid fisheries in general. I even discussed the 1996 peak in the squid fishery and their rapid comebacks after apparent crashes. Given the collapse of major fisheries in Calfornia over the past 100+ years, that I found interesting. My theme was that not enough was known about Loligo, and that perhaps this could lead to greater cooperation between fisheries, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, and marine biology in general. At the end of the presentation, you could hear the crickets chirp. My fault, really, for presenting in New Mexico, which is a pretty landlocked state, and talking about an animal which I’m beginning to realize is going to be relatively ignored until its gone. I swear I didn’t mean to do this. I really tried to make it interesting, and even had a short film clip of mating Loligo (“Squid Porn”). I explained the importance of the species and how its ecology may be related to the standard teleost fisheries and how conservation studies might make a difference on how we perceive Loligo and its place in the oceans. Still, the crickets chirped. The issue with squid conservation is just that – perception. In this game “wildlife” means “backbones only”, and cute & fuzzy means more than alien and tentacle-y. Loligo is an important species in my state - $41 million worth of important. And why do they bounce back so well from sharp declines when fish populations here don’t? Salmon? Slammed. Anchovies? Pounded. Ling cod? Almost out of the woods, thanks to a moratorium on fishing. What issues will Loligo face? How will current changes, or climate changes affect its population? How many members of any species of squid are being lost as by-catch? Why does the FAO only list squid catch by region and taxonomic group? Will our insatiable appetite for calamari cause a crash? I don’t know. Neither did any of my sources. No one asked questions. I really didn’t expect to have any, especially since I had the audacity to discuss squid at a Wildlife program. However, I still think these are important issues and worth further study – at least worth more than a ten-minute PowerPoint presentation. Any thoughts?