Del Mar, Silver Bay, Lund's collaborate to push MSC assessment of California squid fishery

Two boats work together to catch squid in a purse seine

The California market squid purse-seine fishery, one of the largest commercial squid fisheries by tonnage in the United States, has started the Marine Stewardship Council assessment process.

A completion of an initial draft of the MSC assessment report found the fishery preliminarily qualified for certification. Three seafood companies; Del Mar Seafoods, Silver Bay Seafoods, and Lund’s Fisheries, as well as supplier Sun Coast Calamari, collaborated to push the assessment process, which is being conducted by with the independent certification body SCS Global Services.

“The three members of this client group represent the majority of production and processing capacity within the industry, which is why this collaboration will have a positive effect on the entire fishery,” Del Mar Seafoods President and Founder Joe Cappuccio said. “Sustainability has always been a key consideration in our business models, so obtaining MSC certification was a logical step for our companies to take to ensure we can continue to produce high-quality, sustainable products for the world.”

California market squid are caught from Mexico's Baja Peninsula up to southeastern Alaska, and are used by recreational fishers as bait, and commercially in calamari products. Managed by NOAA Fisheries, the Pacific Fishery Management Council, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the fishery is comprised of 76 licensed vessels. According to NOAA, in 2021 those vessels accounted for about 107.3 million pounds (48,700 metric tons) in commercial landings, which was valued at about USD 64 million (EUR 62.5 million).

“Silver Bay Seafoods participates in many MSC-certified fisheries in Alaska,” Silver Bay Seafoods President and CEO Cora Campbell said. “Expanding our relationship to encompass the California market squid fishery is a natural next step to offering our customers across the globe access to a full suite of certified products.”

The draft report found the fishery's average scores across the three main MSC principles high enough to qualify it for certification.  “Documented adaptable management strategies, monitoring, and enforcement” and “very little bycatch” were several strengths of the fishery that SCS mentioned in the draft. A public comment period is now open on the draft report.

“Lund’s Fisheries is proud to come together with two other well-respected California squid producers, and work with SCS and MSC again, this time to demonstrate and support the long-term viability of the California market squid fishery,” Lund’s Fisheries President Wayne Reichle said. “We have been a leader in sustainable seafood for three generations thanks to our fishermen, plant employees, and customers. Certifying the California market squid fishery will distinguish us as the only U.S. seafood producer offering all three MSC-certified domestic squid species here and overseas.”

If successful, certification of the California market squid fishery can be expected in the fall of 2023, after a consultation period and successful site visit and audit.

Photo courtesy of David A Litman/Shutterstock


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