Good Fish Guide
Your guide to sustainable seafood
You can play a key role in securing the future of our seas and marine wildlife by making more environmentally responsible choices when buying seafood.
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Squid, Japanese flying
Squid (often found on menus using the Italian word 'calamari') can be stuffed whole, cut into pieces or rings, which are often deep fried, pickled, as jerky called sakiika, salted or fermented (shiokara). Squid flesh is also produced to
create raw (sashimi) or processed to create dried (surume), cooked (sakiika) or frozen or canned. The Chinese Common squid are a high value species, sold fresh, frozen, dried or processed into hoods and rings or sashimi for the Japanese sushi market. Squid has quite a bland taste so needs other flavourings to perk it up.
Squid is a mollusc related to octopus and cuttlefish. Characterised by a large, fleshy body (mantle), there are more than 300 different types of squid around the world but the most common species eaten in the UK are the European and the Atlantic squid.
Squid plays an important role in oceanic and coastal food webs and is removed from the sea before it has spawned (females die after spawning, though males may live to breed for a second year). Squid is also an important bait species for catching species such as tuna.
Squid fisheries around the world exhibit considerable variations in annual catch, mainly as a result of large fluctuations in annual abundance that appear to be environmentally driven. Fluctuating abundance together with their rapid growth and short life cycle means precise stock information is not available. Squid plays an important role in oceanic and coastal food webs and, without appropriate management, deliberately targeted industrial-scale fisheries have the capacity to remove significant quantities from the sea before they have spawned (it dies after spawning). Fisheries in UK waters tend to be small, seasonal, non-targeted and squid (Loligo forbesi and Loligo vulgaris) is generally taken as bycatch in trawl fisheries for nephrops and other demersal whitefish species. Check which area the squid is from as it may have been caught in an area where whitefish such as cod or whiting are unsustainably fished. A more selective method of fishing for squid is by jigging. An example of such a fishery in the UK is the Sennan Cove squid fishery in Cornwall, where fishermen go out in small punts and fish for squid using jigs, a method of fishing similar to that of hand lining.