HATTIESBURG, MS / ACCESSWIRE / May 6, 2020 / Fishing for longfin squid brings in tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue and supports thousands of full-time jobs, according to a new study from the Science Center for Marine Fisheries (SCEMFIS). The study finds that the fishery is responsible each year for over $30 million in direct revenue, over $99 million in total income, over 2,500 full-time jobs, and $243 million in total economic output in New England and the Mid-Atlantic region.
The study comes as the squid fishery faces new challenges, and was performed primarily to address potential conflicts with the growth of offshore wind energy, with many proposed developments interfering with important fishing grounds. Like many fishing communities across the country, squid fishermen are also dealing with the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, with demand for squid products like calamari crippled by the closure of restaurants across the country.
Accurately measuring the value of the fishery-and the many jobs that it supports-is crucial not only for managing the future of the fishery from competing ocean development, but also for helping fishing communities understand the value of the fishery lost as a result of the current economic shutdown.
"Loligo squid is a significant part of our business and is also a Marine Stewardship Council-certified, sustainable fishery with its products in demand in the U.S., Europe and Asia," said Jeff Kaelin, Director of Sustainability and Government Relations for Lund's Fisheries, in Cape May, New Jersey. "This study shows the extent to which our fishery has grown in size and economic importance, which needs to be considered by both fishery and wind-energy regulators making decisions impacting our future."
Despite its importance as an East Coast fishery, there have been few attempts to quantify the squid fishery's total economic impact. The study, from Dr. Andrew M. Scheld at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, relies on data collected from seafood processors and independent vessels, combined with well-established economic impact models to determine the fishery's employment, revenue, and overall economic contributions.
"The squid fishery has long been an important fishery for us in New Jersey, and for fishing communities across the region," said Greg DiDomenico, Chairman of the SCEMFIS Industry Advisory Board. "It's important, especially as we look for ways to support the industry during these current challenges, to know what's at stake, how many people depend on this fishery, and its economic impact, from the boats to the table."
According to the study, fishing for longfin squid occurs primarily in Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey, with most of the employment impact coming from the restaurant and seafood harvesting sectors. The study found that longfin squid has a significant international and domestic market; it represents 21 percent of the volume and 78 of the value of U.S. market squid landings.
SCEMFIS is part of the National Science Foundation's Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers Program, supporting fisheries research improving the future of finfish and shellfish productivity, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of Maine. Lund's Fisheries and the Garden State Seafood Association are original members of the Center's Industry Advisory Board.
SCEMFIS utilizes academic and fisheries resources to address urgent scientific problems limiting sustainable fisheries. SCEMFIS develops methods, analytical and survey tools, datasets, and analytical approaches to improve sustainability of fisheries and reduce uncertainty in biomass estimates. SCEMFIS university partners, University of Southern Mississippi (lead institution), and Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, are the academic sites. Collaborating scientists who provide specific expertise in finfish, shellfish, and marine mammal research, come from a wide range of academic institutions including Old Dominion University, Rutgers University, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, University of Maryland, and University of Rhode Island.
The need for the diverse services that SCEMFIS can provide to industry continues to grow, which has prompted a steady increase in the number of fishing industry partners. These services include immediate access to science expertise for stock assessment issues, rapid response to research priorities, and representation on stock assessment working groups. Targeted research leads to improvements in data collection, survey design, analytical tools, assessment models, and other needs to reduce uncertainty in stock status and improve reference point goals.
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SOURCE: Science Center for Marine Fisheries