Before you go off in a huff about how ridiculous I'm being*, let me explain why this is kind of a big deal. First, the Humboldt squid fishery is the biggest squid--the biggest invertebrate--fishery in the world. Second, no single country (or group of countries, for that matter) has ever set a quota for Humboldt squid before. That means fishermen have, by and large, been free to catch as many as they can.
This comes in the wake of changes in Peru's squid laws back in October which mandated that all Humboldt squid had to be caught for human consumption. It also comes in the wake of me having fun with spreadsheets and graphing Peru's historical catch, the upshot of which is that the highest catch ever came in 2008, with 533,414 tonnes.
The quota which has just been set? 500,000 tonnes.
In California, the quota for market squid is based on the three years of highest catch. Similarly, I would guess that Peru's Humboldt squid quota was also chosen based on the year, or years, of highest catch.
(Thanks to Gilly, John, Julie, and Unai--fellow scientists whom I pestered to confirm my suspicion that this is, in fact, the first time a quota has been set for Humboldt squid. If I get anything wrong, though, it's my fault not theirs.)
* Let's just be clear: I am ridiculous.