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US Shortfin squid fishery achieves MSC certification

2nd Squid Species in the World to be Certified Sustainable

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The U.S. Northeast Northern Shortfin Squid (Illex illecebrosus) fishery in the Northwest Atlantic has been certified sustainable against the MSC fisheries standard. The assessment, executed by independent conformity assessment body SCS Global Services and requested by Lund’s Fisheries, Inc. and The Town Dock, was part of a scope expansion following the successful certification of the U.S. Northeast Longfin Inshore Squid (Loligo pealeii) bottom trawl fishery in 2018. Illex joins Loligo as the 2nd squid species in the world to be MSC certified.

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. Illex’s geographic distribution is largely influenced by water temperature and water masses. During spring, Northern shortfin squid migrate onto the continental shelf between Newfoundland and Cape Hatteras, and during late autumn, species migrate off the continental shelf presumably to an unknown winter spawning site.

“Sourcing and eating certified sustainable squid has never been easier,” said Brian Perkins, Regional Director of the Americas for the Marine Stewardship Council. “The fishery has demonstrated its hard work in sustaining the resource, and in meeting the MSC fisheries sustainability standard. We’re proud to have a 2nd responsible squid fishery join the program.”

“We are very pleased  to offer certified sustainable shortfin squid to our trusted customers and America’s  seafood consumers, ” said Wayne Reichle, President of Lund’s Fisheries. “The Marine Stewardship Council certification demonstrates the integrity of our domestic seafood management and monitoring systems. We are working daily to sustainably manage our east coast squid fishery to the benefit of the resource, fishing communities, and calamari lovers everywhere.”

“The certification of the North Atlantic Illex fishery is very exciting for us and for sustainability-minded consumers,” said Ryan Clark, CEO of The Town Dock. “It has always been important for us to sustainably manage our squid fisheries, so a second MSC certification is welcome news. And now, we can offer our customers around the globe two certified sustainable USA squid species in Loligo and Illex.”

Larger in size and with a slightly different flavor profile than Loligo, Illex has emerged in US markets as another domestically-caught seafood option. Illex spawn year-round and migrate long-distances between inshore and offshore waters. With a lifespan of less than one year, water temperature plays  a significant role in migration timing, distribution, growth and spawning. Recently, east coast squid species have reportedly been migrating further north up the coast than in previous years. They are a species that is likely to benefit from climate change, rather than be negatively impacted by it, according to current research by US fishery scientists.

The fishery is certified until 2024 and will undergo annual audits within that timeframe to ensure the MSC standard continues to be met.

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Nikki Senseman

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