One of the first jobs I ever had in the seafood world was working on a trawler out of Point Judith, Rhode Island in the mid-1990s. Trips typically lasted 3-5 days, targeting squid and whiting during the summer months, which is when I fished during breaks from school. During each trip, days and nights were long and demanding, repeatedly hauling back, sorting and icing the catch, culminating in a long offload upon returning to port. But to me it was also an enjoyable experience. I was fortunate since I worked with competent crew and captain who took time to teach me about not only catching fish, but also about supply chains and where our harvest went. Plus, I was only available to fish in the summer—when it was warm and the seas were relatively calm!
More than 20 years later, I am working with squid again—not on a fishing vessel—but with some of the world’s largest global squid buyers through the Global Squid Supply Chain Roundtable (SR). The SR serves as a pre-competitive platform for industry members to collaborate and support squid efforts. Members of the SR are currently involved in a number of different improvement efforts in Asia and South America, working with stakeholders such as Ocean Outcomes, China Blue Sustainability Institute, and WWF.
SFP is planning the next Squid SR meeting to take place alongside SENA 2018 in March. Yesterday, for the first time ever SFP released its Target 75 sector report on squid. The report provides information on the current sustainability status of the squid sector in terms of volumes coming from sustainable and improving fisheries, and serves as a vital roadmap for identifying how the sector can reach the 75 percent sustainability goal. The report’s findings can also serve the SR members as they prioritize future improvement efforts across global squid fisheries.
It’s not just us at SFP who believe that SRs are a good idea. One of our longtime partners, High Liner Foods, was the company that initially requested SFP facilitate a meeting of North American importers focused on squid sustainability three years ago. This group grew and merged with companies outside of North America to eventually form the Global Squid SR. Another SR participant and SFP partner, Beaver Street Fisheries, was one of the first companies to pursue a squid FIP in China, which has opened the door for other companies to join the improvement effort. In Asia and South America, Panapesca, since joining the SR, has become actively involved in multiple squid improvement efforts in both regions. These are just a few of the companies that have taken the lead on sustainable squid production.
Squid may not command the sustainability attention of species such as tunas and sharks, but there are a growing number of sustainability efforts taking root in the squid sector. Many of these initiatives are collaborations between forward-thinking companies and other stakeholders dependent on squid resources. It is SFP’s hope that devices such as the squid SR and sector report will be effective tools as squid sustainability efforts grow and expand.