SFP report shows vast sustainability gap in squid fishing

Less than one percent of global production of squid is recognized as sustainable or improving, according to a new report from Sustainable Fisheries Partnership’s Target 75 Initiative.

According to the report, four Chinese and South Korean squid fisheries, fishing for Argentine shortfin and jumbo flying squid off the coast of South America, constitute 20 percent of global production, but are not engaged in any sort of sustainability improvement effort.

SFP’s Target 75 Initiative is aimed achieving the goal of seeing 75 percent of the world’s seafood sourced sustainably or improving toward sustainability by 2020.

Despite the global squid fishery’s dismal record, SFP said it “remains confident that the global squid sector can become a contributor to the Target 75 goal through engagement in some key markets.”

“The industry can accomplish this through demand from some markets already engaged in sustainability, engaging the markets where those products end up, as well as creating demand for sustainable products from new markets,” SFP said in its report.

SFP said in its report that that fishery improvement projects (FIPs), managed by an overarching supply chain roundtable, are the best methods to rapidly scale up sustainability efforts in squid fisheries, which would likely result in a boost in global sustainable squid production. Bill DiMento, vice president of sustainability and government affairs at High Liner Foods, agreed.

"Since High Liner Foods became involved in the Global Squid Supply Chain Roundtable, we’ve been able to identify and engage FIP collaborators and stay up-to-date on squid sustainability issues, allowing us to accomplish our company wide sustainability goals,” DiMento said. “We strongly encourage other companies to consider taking part in the Target 75 Initiative by joining an SR or starting a FIP.”

Casey Marion, the director of sustainability initiatives and quality management systems at Beaver Street Fisheries said, it would continue to push for the creation of fishery improvement projects (FIPs) in the squid fisheries it buys from.

“Beaver Street began scoping a squid FIP in China back in 2012 and realized right away that it was going to be a challenge to do it alone,” Marion said. “Utilizing the precompetitive supplier roundtable platform has really helped to energize squid FIP efforts and we’re excited to be a part of helping to expand this effort to more squid FIPs globally.”

SFP founder and CEO Jim Cannon said his organization will continue to report on the squid fishery’s sustainability progress, as well as other target species where it believes the most global progress can be made.

“These reports will represent the backbone of our initiative going forward,” Cannon said. “The information here presents a snapshot of a particular sector, along with where we think improvement efforts should focus going forward. We hope the industry uses this as a blueprint for future sustainable seafood production.”


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