Solving the mystery of the Humboldt squid

Solving the mystery of the Humboldt squid »Play Video

NEWPORT, Ore. - Scientists are trying to get the upper hand in the war against the aggressive Humboldt squid, which uses tentacles and a beak to tear through its prey and seems to be more prevalent now on the Oregon Coast.

To try to figure out why we're seeing more of them on the coast, Oregon State University researchers are partnering with fishermen in what they call 'Squid CSI.'

"Honestly, we don't have research vessels every place and across the ocean and they're not out there all the time. Fishermen, on the other hand, are pretty pervasive," said Bill Hanshumaker with OSU.

Hanshumaker says researchers need fishermen's help to try and solve the mystery of the carnivorous Humboldt squid, specifically why are the so-called 'red devils' migrating to the Oregon coast and why are their numbers on the rise.

"Something is changing in the ocean that allows these big predators to be there that wasn't here before," said Hanshumaker.

The Humboldt squid, which were first discovered off the Oregon coast eight years ago, are aggressive and there have been reported attacks on divers.

Fisherman Bill Olivera makes his living off catching Pacific whiting and he said this year his fish conveyor belt is often empty, with his catch running 20 percent of normal.

Nobody knows how big of a bite the Humboldt squid is taking out of Oregon's fisheries, but it is definitely a huge concern for those who make their living on the coast.

For some, it's a matter of if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Bill Waddell, a charterboat fisherman, has been advertising fishing trips that include catching a Humboldt squid.

Fishermen say the Humboldt squid tends to show up off the Oregon coast in the early fall.