Squid

Squid

Market squid, © Amadeo Bachar

At a glance

Eco-rating Mercury Omega-3s
+-Longfin squid (U.S.)
Best
Low

MORE ABOUT LONGFIN SQUID

Squid are related to octopus, cuttlefish and chambered nautilus. They are highly migratory, and many have the ability to change colors during mating or when provoked. The longfin squid is an important food source for other fish, including bluefish and mackerel. For this reason, it is often used as bait.

Commercial Sources

Longfin squid are found in the western Atlantic, from Newfoundland to the Gulf of Venezuela.

The main source of longfin squid is the United States.

Capture Methods

Longfin squid come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with bottom trawls. Additional types of fishing gear include pound nets, traps and handlines.

+-Market squid
OK
Low

MORE ABOUT MARKET SQUID

Market squid are found off the west coast of North America from Baja to Alaska. These animals live one or two years, spawn, and then die.

Commercial Sources

The vast majority of market squid are netted by fishermen off California.

Capture Methods

Market squid are caught at night. Powerful lights are used to attract the squid, which are then netted with purse-and-drum seines.

California market squid are relatively abundant; however, populations of this species experience large fluctuations from year to year and appropriate management is lacking. The predominant fishing method (bright lights attract the squid to fishing boats at night) does little to harm other animals and does not damage the ocean floor.

+-Northern shortfin squid
OK
Low

MORE ABOUT NORTHERN SHORTFIN SQUID

Squid are related to octopus, cuttlefish and chambered nautilus. They are highly migratory, and many have the ability to change colors during mating or when provoked. The Northern shortfin squid has been known to travel more than 1,000 miles.

Commercial Sources

Northern shortfin squid are found in the western North Atlantic, from Labrador to Florida.

The main source of northern shortfin squid is the United States.

Capture Methods

Northern shortfin squid come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with bottom trawls and jigs. Additional types of fishing gear include midwater trawls.

Recommended servings per month

Contaminant Men Women Kids 6-12 Kids 0-5
Market squid Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 4+
Northern shortfin squid Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 4+
Longfin squid (U.S.) Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 4+
Eco details: 
  • Most squid species are resilient to fishing pressure, since they have short life spans and reproduce prolifically.
  • Even though squid appear fairly abundant in most places, squid fisheries around the world are largely unregulated and most populations are not well studied.
  • Squid are primarily caught with bottom and midwater trawls, which can have high bycatch.
  • Some Northern shortfin squid are captured by hook and line, a more eco-friendly method of fishing.
  • Fishers of market squid utilize bright lights to lure squid to fishing boats at night with little bycatch or habitat damage.