The MSC has awarded California market squid (Loligo opalescens) certification for sustainable fishing practices. This is the first squid species managed by the State of California to be certified.
Nine companies comprise two certificates in the California market squid fishery. The first certificate includes companies Cal Marine Fish Company, Monterey Fish Company, Southern Cal Seafood, Southern Coast Trading, Neptune Foods, and J. DeLuca Fish Company. The second certificate includes Lund’s Fisheries Inc./Sun Coast Calamari, Del Mar Seafoods, and Silver Bay Seafoods. In 2018 and 2019 respectively Longfin squid (Doryteuthis (Amerigo) pealeii) and Northern shortfin squid (Illex illecebrosus) off the US East Coast were certified.
The MSC certification indicates that the California market squid fishery adheres to rigorous environmental and management criteria. Achieving and maintaining certification includes a comprehensive assessment of the fishery’s impact on fish stocks and ecosystems, ensuring that the squid population is responsibly managed and harvested. Fisheries are assessed by a third party assessor and must undergo annual audits to ensure they continue to meet the MSC’s Fisheries Standard.
‘This achievement is a testament to the ongoing dedication of the California squid fishing industry in ensuring the long-term health of our ocean and preserving marine ecosystems,’ said Nicole Condon, Marine Stewardship Council US program director.
‘We are proud that US fisheries are leading the way on sustainable squid with the world’s only MSC certified squid fisheries. The first was certified in 2018 on the East Coast, and the California fishing industry is now more than doubling the volume of certified squid in the region.’
California’s market squid fishery has a long history dating back to the late 1800s when sampan boats with torches attached to the bow were used to attract squid to the surface. The fishery still employs light-based techniques, with specialised lights used to attract squid to the surface at night. This targeted approach significantly reduces bycatch of non-target species and minimizes impact on the marine ecosystem.
‘We’re very pleased that California’s market squid fishery received this recognition,’ said California Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine Regional Manager Dr. Craig Shuman.
‘It demonstrates California’s leadership in sustainable fisheries management. With both squid and the recently certified pink shrimp fishery as examples, we look forward to seeing the additional commercial fisheries certified in the Golden State soon.’
California market squid is a versatile seafood product cherished by chefs, consumers, and seafood enthusiasts alike. With its delicate flavour and tender texture, squid is a staple ingredient in diverse culinary traditions, from Mediterranean cuisine to Asian-inspired dishes. The California market squid product caters to both domestic and export markets for human consumption, with some product reserved for bait and aquaculture feed.