The U.S. Northeastern Longfin Inshore Squid fishery in the Northwest Atlantic is the first squid fishery in the world to achieve MSC certification as a sustainable and well-managed fishery. The certification was awarded on May 22 by independent certifier SCS Global Services following an 11-month long detailed assessment.
The Longfin inshore squid (Doryteuthis (Amerigo) pealeii), also referred to as Loligo squid, has a lifespan of less than one year. They spawn year-round as they migrate long-distances between inshore and offshore waters. They generally remain inshore during spring and offshore during late fall. As with most squid species, environmental factors such as temperature play a significant role in the timing of migrations, distribution, growth, and spawning. Due to changing water temperatures, squid have been migrating further North up the coast than in past years. It is one species that may benefit from climate change, rather than be negatively impacted by it, according to studies[i].
“We are thrilled to congratulate the fishery for becoming the first squid fishery in the world to attain MSC certification,” said Brian Perkins, MSC’s Regional Director for the Americas. “This achievement is an acknowledgement and testimony to the great work that the fishers are doing to ensure that they fish responsibly, and will have the resource available for generations to come.”
The fishery takes place on the U.S. continental shelf from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Squid are harvested by small mesh bottom trawls by fishery client group Lund’s Fisheries Inc. of Cape May, New Jersey, and The Town Dock of Narragansett, Rhode Island along with independent fishermen throughout the region using the same fishing method. The bottom trawl fishery for longfin squid follows the species’ seasonal inshore/offshore migration patterns.
“We are excited to build additional trust with our customers through MSC’s certification of our longfin squid fishery,” said Wayne Reichle, President of Lund’s Fisheries. “This certification demonstrates that our domestic fisheries management system is working to sustainably manage our major squid fishery to the benefit of the resource, fishing communities, and calamari lovers everywhere.”
“All of us at The Town Dock are excited to be part of such a historic initiative,” said Ryan Clark, CEO of The Town Dock. “Our goal has always been to provide customers with a healthy and sustainable product. By certifying longfin squid, we hope to take the promise of sustainability a step further by protecting the fishery to ensure consumers have access to squid now and for many years to come.”
The two companies are also immediately pursuing a scope extension via an expedited assessment of the Northern shortfin squid small mesh bottom trawl fishery under MSC principles. Northern shortfin squid (Illex illecebrosus), also known as illex, is a commercially important species with a broad range that extends between the Sea of Labrador and the Florida Straits.
Development of the U.S. domestic longfin squid bottom trawl fishery began in the early 1980s as the U.S. industry developed the appropriate technology to catch and process squid in large quantities, and became solely domestic in 1987.
The fishery is certified until 2023 and will undergo annual audits within that timeframe to ensure the MSC standard continues to be met.