California’s confidential fishing rights leave millions of dollars in mystery.

Over years of writing about and working in the fishing industry, I (Nick Rahaim) have often found it difficult to substantiate many things told to me – often as gospel – on fishing boats and in salty bars. Many of those stories aren’t of much consequence – that most fishermen found dead in the water have their fly unzipped, or that whistling in the wheelhouse will blow up a storm. But another story represented enough potential injustice that I had to learn more. A year ago, while working as a fisherman and freelance journalist in Alaska, I heard California seafood companies that buy and sell product were buying up squid permits – permanent fishing rights, limited in number, bought and sold on a market – from independent fishermen. The implication: They were trying to corner the market, creating squid cartels where they could control prices paid to fishermen, causing ripples down the supply chain to the consumer. (More on the system of fishing rights later.) Read the story here 10:45