Illustration of Squid

Squid

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Harvest Method

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Humboldt squid, jumbo squid

Dosidicus gigas

Method

Wild

Jig

Location

Chile, Peru, China

Overall Rating

3.1-3.5 / 5

Summary

Production of jumbo squid in Chile has fluctuated since the directed fishery began in the late 1990s, peaking at 250,000 t/yr in 2005, but only 110,000 t in 2013. In Peru, however, the fishery has increased throughout the 2000s, with the artisanal fishery growing while the industrial fishery declined. 250,000 t were captured in 2013. The Chinese fishery on the high seas has risen steadily since beginning in 2001, catching 325,000 t in 2015. Data on US imports for Humboldt/jumbo squid specifically are not available; however, imports of “squid not specifically provided for” are overwhelmingly of Chinese origin.

Squid caught in Chile, China and Peru by jig are Recommended due to low gear impacts on bycatch and the ecosystem. Jigging catches no other species, and have minimal impacts on the seafloor. There is limited information on stock status and fishing mortality, due to a lack of co-ordinated assessment effort between the major fisheries so, while there are some indicators of a healthy stock, abundance and mortality criteria are scored a moderate concern. Management is considered moderately effective, however the Chinese fishery on the high seas is rated ineffective for enforcement and stakeholder inclusion.

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Humboldt squid, jumbo squid

Dosidicus gigas

Method

Wild

Jig

Location

Mexico, Gulf of California

Overall Rating

3.2 / 5

Summary

The Mexican Humboldt squid was fished at a very low level between the 1960’s and 1990’s. It was reactivated in 1995 after a period of inactivity due to a population collapse. This collapse is thought to have been due to environmental conditions and fishing pressure. The fishery increased to a peak in 2004 and has been fluctuating at 650,000 to 950,000 metric tonnes a year. Mexico landed 2.4% of the Humboldt squid caught globally in 2012. US imports of Humboldt squid have increased rapidly in the past few years. The squid is sold as calamari steak, abalone-style calamari, or imitation abalone.

The fishery is managed by the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fishing (CONAPESCA). Of concern is the illegal fishing that occurs despite improvements in the fishery’s management scheme. Regulations such as weekly monitoring of the catch and fishing permits exist. More scientific research is expected in the near future due to the species’ expanding range and importance as both a predator and prey item in the ecosystem. Humboldt squids have life history characteristics that make them resilient against fishing pressure. These include a short lifespan and high fecundity. Population abundance is heavily influenced by environmental variation such as El Nino events. Although stock status can fluctuate greatly, this also allows the population to recover quickly. Demand for Humboldt squid is currently low, which puts the species at low risk for overfishing. Scientific models and landing data suggest that stock status is healthy.

Jigs do not make contact with the ocean floor and thus do not cause negative impacts to the habitat. There is evidence that the Humboldt squid is a species of exceptional importance. Research is needed on its role in the ecosystem. Jigging is a highly selective fishing method which does not cause bycatch.

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Japanese flying squid

Todarodes pacificus

Method

Wild

Jig, Trap net, Unassociated purse seine

Location

Winter & autumn cohort, Japan

Overall Rating

3.2 - 4.7 / 5

Summary

Japanese squid are caught by several methods: jig, unassociated purse seine, bottom trawl and trap net. This species accounted for 77% of Japan’s national total squid catch in 2015. Of these fishing methods, jig and unassociated purse seine caught squid are recommended by Ocean Wise. The Japanese Fisheries Research and Education Agency (FRA) is responsible for managing the fishery. FRA regularly assesses the squid population which is healthy and not overfished. Jigging and unassociated purse seines cause very little bycatch as they are selective fishing methods. However, bottom trawls and trap nets can cause high amounts of bycatch. Data on these non-target species is not collected, and management has not implemented regulations to attempt to reduce bycatch levels. This is a critical concern, especially for the bottom trawl fishery. Jigs and purse seines do not impact the habitat. Trap nets are usually set in coastal waters and can significantly damage kelp forests. While bottom trawls are prohibited from operating in areas where kelp forests are abundant, they can nevertheless cause habitat damage in areas where they operate. In 2013, catches of Japanese flying squid in both Japan and the Republic of Korea totaled 330,136mt with about 85% of this catch originating from Japan. Japan consumes most of its catch domestically.

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Variety

Indian squid

Loligo duveauceli

Method

Wild

Bottom trawl

Location

India, Thailand

Overall Rating

1.7-1.8 / 5

Summary

There are more than 300 species of squid distributed worldwide. Squid landings have increased rapidly since the 1980’s, both because of consumer popularity and also due to the depletion of fish stocks. In 2011, almost 5000 tonnes of squid were imported into the US. Thailand and India are two of the three main countries that export squid to the US.

There is no international organization that manages the squid. Countries must individually regulate the population within their exclusive economic zones. Since the squid live for only one year, it is difficult to assess the population status before the fishing season begins. Combined with lack of enforcement, management is challenging and ineffective. Population status is sensitive to changes in the environment. Despite their resilience, stock status is unknown and little scientific information is collected on the species.

Prior to a ban in 1993, drift gillnets were the primary gear used to catch squid. Nowadays, otter trawls, sometimes with light luring techniques, are primarily used to catch squid. No data is collected on the bycatch associated with this fishing method. It is believed that the otter trawls negatively affect invertebrates, forage fish, sharks, marine mammals, finfish, turtles, sharks, and corals. Restrictions exist on the use of otter trawls, including minimum mesh sizes, and area closures, though knowledge is lacking on these regulations, and lack of enforcement is prevalent. Otter trawls are known to sometimes make contact with the seafloor, thus damaging habitat. It is not known what the impacts are of removing squid from the ecosystem, but since they act as both predator and prey in the ecosystem, their absence may have an unanticipated large effect.

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Variety

Longfin squid

Loligo pealei

Method

Wild

Bottom trawl

Location

US Atlantic

Overall Rating

2.5 / 5

Summary

Historical landings of the longfin squid have been variable. Foreign vessels landed 37,000 mt in 1973. After the late 1980’s, the fishery was closed to foreign vessels. Domestic quotas were set in 2000, and landings decreased, with the fishery being closed several times.

Longfin squid have life history characteristics such as their short life span that make them inherently resilient against fishing pressure. Stock assessments are regularly performed. While the stock is not thought to be overfished, there is some disagreement about the amount of fishing mortality that the population can sustain. The longfin squid fishery is generally well-managed, although improvements could be made regarding the use of scientific advice and the reduction of bycatch.

Bottom trawls are highly damaging to the ecosystem. They are associated with physical damage to the habitat, resuspension of sediment, and injury and mortality to organisms amongst other negative effects. Although longfin squid play an important role in the ecosystem, their exact functions are not clear. Recent research has been making progress in this field. The bottom trawl longfin squid fishery causes the bycatch of the endangered loggerhead turtle which is a concern. Endangered populations are vulnerable to fishing mortality.

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Variety

Shortfin squid

Illex illecebrosus

Method

Wild

Bottom trawl

Location

East coast US

Overall Rating

2.5 / 5

Summary

Interest in the shortfin squid fishery began in the 1970’s and rapidly peaked to landings of 162,100 mt in 1979, before decreasing to only 400 mt in 1983. Landings have not increased since then, and have remained variable.

Management has successfully implemented plans for the recovery of the shortfin squid population. Additionally, bycatch is monitored, and regulations exist for the management of bycatch levels. Shortfin squid have life history characteristics such as their short life span that make them inherently resilient against fishing pressure. The stock status of shortfin squid is unknown due to a lack of data. Information on the structure of the population is nonexistent, and impacts of the fishery are unknown.

Bottom trawls are highly damaging to the ecosystem. They are associated with physical damage to the habitat, resuspension of sediment, and injury and mortality to organisms amongst other negative effects. Although shortfin squid play an important role in the ecosystem, their exact functions are not clear. Recent research has been making progress in this field. The bottom trawl shortfin squid fishery causes the bycatch of the endangered loggerhead turtle which is a concern. Endangered populations are vulnerable to fishing mortality.

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Variety

Mitre squid

Loligo chilensis

Method

Wild

Bottom trawl

Location

China, Thailand

Overall Rating

1.8 / 5

Summary

There are more than 300 species of squid distributed worldwide. Squid landings have increased rapidly since the 1980’s, both because of consumer popularity and also due to the depletion of fish stocks. In 2011, almost 5000 tonnes of squid were imported into the US. Thailand and China are two of the three main countries that export squid to the US.

There is no international organization that manages the squid. Countries must individually regulate the population within their exclusive economic zones. Since the squid live for only one year, it is difficult to assess the population status before the fishing season begins. Combined with lack of enforcement, management is challenging and ineffective. Mitre squid have life history characteristics that make them inherently resilient to fishing pressure, including a 1-year lifespan. Population status is sensitive to changes in the environment. Despite their resilience, stock status is unknown and little scientific information is collected on the species.

Prior to a ban in 1993, drift gillnets were the primary gear used to catch squid. Nowadays, otter trawls, sometimes with light luring techniques, are primarily used to catch squid. No data is collected on the bycatch associated with this fishing method. It is believed that the otter trawls negatively affect invertebrates, forage fish, sharks, marine mammals, finfish, turtles, sharks, and corals. Restrictions exist on the use of otter trawls, including minimum mesh sizes, and area closures, though knowledge is lacking on these regulations, and lack of enforcement is prevalent. Otter trawls are known to sometimes make contact with the seafloor, thus damaging habitat. It is not known what the impacts are of removing squid from the ecosystem, but since they act as both predator and prey in the ecosystem, their absence may have an unanticipated large effect.

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Variety

Shortfin squid

Ilex argentinus

Method

Jig

Location

Argentina

Overall Rating

2.4 / 5

Summary

The majority of  Argentine shortfin squid is caught by jig. A minor component is captured as bycatch by the hake trawl fishery. Shortfin squid are found in the Southwest Atlantic from Brazil to southern Argentina, the Falkland islands and east to the high seas. Argentina accounts for one third of the total catch. Several seasonal spawning populations exist, resulting in reproduction through the entire year. It is difficult to estimate species abundance and there is evidence of overfishing in the species in recent years. In addition, the lack of cooperation between countries that fish the species, along with evidence of illegal fishing, poses challenges for the effective management of this transboundary species.

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Variety

Japanese flying squid

Todarodes pacificus

Method

Wild

Bottom trawl

Location

Winter cohort, Japan

Overall Rating

0 / 5

Summary

Japanese squid are caught by several methods: jig, unassociated purse seine, bottom trawl and trap net. This species accounted for 77% of Japan’s national total squid catch in 2015. Of these fishing methods, jig and unassociated purse seine caught squid are recommended by Ocean Wise. The Japanese Fisheries Research and Education Agency (FRA) is responsible for managing the fishery. FRA regularly assesses the squid population which is healthy and not overfished. Jigging and unassociated purse seines cause very little bycatch as they are selective fishing methods. However, bottom trawls and trap nets can cause high amounts of bycatch. Data on these non-target species is not collected, and management has not implemented regulations to attempt to reduce bycatch levels. This is a critical concern, especially for the bottom trawl fishery. Jigs and purse seines do not impact the habitat. Trap nets are usually set in coastal waters and can significantly damage kelp forests. While bottom trawls are prohibited from operating in areas where kelp forests are abundant, they can nevertheless cause habitat damage in areas where they operate. In 2013, catches of Japanese flying squid in both Japan and the Republic of Korea totaled 330,136mt with about 85% of this catch originating from Japan. Japan consumes most of its catch domestically.

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Variety

Market squid

Loligo opalescens

Method

Wild

Purse seine

Location

California

Overall Rating

2.7 / 5

Summary

The fishery for market squid is one of the largest by mass in the United States. It has been an important fishery since the 1860’s, and expanded in the 1980’s, reaching a peak of 130,831 mt in 2010. Almost all market squid are landed in California, with China being the main importer of the market squid.

Market squid have life history characteristics including a short 9-month lifespan, that make them inherently resilient to fishing pressure. However, no stock assessments have been conducted for market squid, and all information collected on the squid is based on fishery-dependent data. This makes it difficult to estimate maximum sustainable yield i.e. how much squid can be caught while keeping the population at a sustainable level. Management has not been effective in addressing concerns over bycatch of squid egg capsules and unspawned females.

Purse seines sometimes touch the sea floor, which affects the habitat. No management measures to reduce the frequency of contact with the ocean floor exist. As market squid is a keystone species, i.e. one that has a key functioning role in the ecosystem, it is likely that its removal has negative impacts. Current research is being undertaken to understand the role of the market squid in the ecosystem. The amount of bycatch associated with the market squid fishery is low, although the bycatch of northern anchovy is a concern due to their unknown stock status and fishing mortality.

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Variety

Longfin squid

Doryteuthis (Amerigo) pealeii

Method

Bottom trawl

Location

Northeastern US. The entire fishing grounds for the stock that extends from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras, NC.

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
US Northeastern longfin Inshore Squid Small Mesh Bottom Trawl Fishery

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

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