Squid fishery shutdown won’t affect local calamari

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) – The federal government is limiting squid fishing in certain areas, so what does this mean for Southern New England?

As of this Friday, a short fin squid fishery, much of which sits offshore from Rhode Island, will shut down until Dec. 31. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says this is because 95 percent of the quota for that type of squid has been caught, so this is actually standard procedure.

Richard Fuka of the Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance says it’s a sign that squid fishing has been hot this year, so it’s actually a good thing.

“The Illex fishery, or the fishery in question that just closed, was a very large number and we actually had a very robust season to be able to meet the benchmark,” Fuka said. 

Fuka contends that not meeting the quota would actually have been worse, because it may send the wrong signal to the overseeing government agencies.

“You know when you didn’t meet the benchmark, maybe it means over-fishing, which couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.

Fuka also said the shutdown of the fishery won’t affect local calamari.

“The short fin squid or Illex, it’s not normally consumed in this country,” he said. “It is overseas. Illex is a mainstay for most of the folks around the world.”

So why has this year been so good for short fin squid fishing?

“Fishermen are scratching their heads on this one,” Fuka said. “Illex this year was robust.”

While the Illex type of squid is not usually served as a meal in Rhode Island, it is often used as fishing bait.