The Northeast inshore longfin squid fishery became the first squid fishery in the world to achieve Marine Stewardship Council certification this week as independent certifier SCS Global Services wrapped up an 11-month-long detailed assessment.

The fishery takes place along the East Coast from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras, N.C. Squid are harvested by small-mesh bottom trawls by the fishery client group Lund’s Fisheries of Cape May, N.J., and the Town Dock of Narragansett, R.I., along with independent fishermen throughout the region. 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 companies decided to enter the certification process together, seeing a rise in requests for certified sustainable squid products and hoping the label will help push their products into new markets.

“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 two companies are also pursuing an expedited assessment of the Northern shortfin squid, also known as illex, small-mesh bottom trawl fishery.

The annual quota for shortfin was set at 50.52 million pounds, and the longfin quota is similar at 50.56 million pounds. After a disappointing 2017 season that saw low volumes, squid fishermen are still optimistic about 2018 and the current, steady domestic market demand.

The fishery is certified until 2023 and will undergo annual audits within that timeframe to ensure it is meeting MSC standards.

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Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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