Washington, D.C. – Longfin squid (Doryteuthis (Amerigo) pealeii), also known as loligo, and Northern shortfin squid (Illex illecebrosus) caught by Seafreeze Limited and Sea Fresh USA off the U.S. East Coast achieved Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification today. The accomplishment firmly places the USA as a global leader in the production of certified squid, as the only two MSC-certified sustainably managed fisheries occur in U.S. Atlantic waters. Certification was granted by independent certifier SCS Global Services based on the MSC sustainable fisheries standard following a 10 month assessment, and will remain certified through 2025. The fishery will undergo annual audits during that timeframe to ensure the MSC standard continues to be met.
“The U.S. being a leader in certified sustainable squid is a testament to the hard work by the fishermen and shows important leadership by the companies,” said Brian Perkins, regional director for the Americas at the Marine Stewardship Council. “Congratulations to Seafreeze Limited and Sea Fresh on achieving MSC certification and demonstrating their commitment to sustainability, helping ensure squid are available and the ecosystem is healthy for generations to come. With more certified sustainable squid products easily available around the world, customers can feel good about the squid they’re sourcing and selling.”
The majority of U.S. Illex squid products have historically been sold as bait for other fisheries such as crab, cod and swordfish. In more recent years, Illex has been produced for food service and distributed around the U.S., Europe, and Asia, whereas longfin squid has predominantly served a domestic food service market.
“MSC certification of longfin and Illex squid from the NW Atlantic is something that customers here in the US and overseas have been eager to see in our New England fishery for some time. We are excited to be able to offer MSC certified squid of both species to existing and future customers,” said Chris Lee, Director, Sea Fresh USA, Inc. “Adding the MSC certification confirms, for customers near and far, that they are purchasing from a sustainably harvested resource. As demands on the world’s natural resources intensify, it is important for our customer base to understand what we already knew, that these fisheries are sustainable, well managed US Fisheries.”
Chris Joy of Seafreeze Limited said, “Earning MSC certification for our Atlantic squid harvests is an important milestone for Seafreeze. We have always been committed to providing the highest quality, most responsibly harvested squid available to our customers. This certification is a result of that focus on quality and will be a great benefit for our customers worldwide. The certification of our U.S. Atlantic squid, along with the global reach in squid of our parent company, Profand, and U.S. partner Stavis Seafoods, allows us to offer our customers one of the industry’s most diverse squid inventories. Our goal is to be the industry leader in the species, and the MSC certification is a great step in that direction. ”
When a fishery is successfully certified against the MSC fisheries Standard, its certified catch can be sold with the MSC blue fish label if the entire supply chain is also certified, indicating to customers that it comes from a sustainable, traceable source.
The MSC fishery standards are based on three core principles that every fishery must meet:
- Sustainable fish stocks: Fishing activity must be at a level which ensures it can continue indefinitely.
- Minimizing environmental impact: Fishing operations must be managed to maintain the structure, productivity, function, and diversity of the ecosystem.
- Effective Management: The fishery must comply with relevant laws and have a management system that is responsive to changing circumstances.
The first-ever squid fishery to achieve MSC certification came in 2017, with a second species following in 2019.
About the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organization. Our vision is for the world’s oceans to be teeming with life, and seafood supplies safeguarded for this and future generations. Our blue label and certification program recognizes and rewards sustainable fishing practices and is helping create a more sustainable seafood market.
The blue MSC label on a seafood product means that:
- It comes from a wild-catch fishery which has been independently certified to the MSC’s science-based standard for environmentally sustainable fishing.
- It’s fully traceable to a sustainable source.
More than 300 fisheries in over 34 countries are certified to the MSC’s Standard. These fisheries have a combined annual seafood production of 12 million metric tons, representing 15% of global marine catch. For more information visit msc.org