Squid tastes mild and slightly sweet. Raw squid is ivory covered with a speckled membrane; cooked squid is opaque white and firm. Edible parts of the squid include the arms (tentacles), the mantle (tube) and the fins (wings). The membrane that covers the squid may be removed before cooking.
Overfished in the late 1990s, Longfin Squid are now abundant in U.S. Atlantic waters thanks to their fast growth and short lifespan, which enable them to withstand moderate fishing pressure. Historically, the domestic fishery for Longfin Squid was small, but the exclusion of foreign squid boats from U.S. waters and increases in international demand for squid have fostered an expansion in the U.S. fishery. Longfin Squid are now well-managed, but bycatch of marine mammals continues to mar the fishery.
Like other cephalopods, longfin and shortfin squid are fast-growing and reproduce at an early age – traits that can help them withstand heavy fishing. Longfin populations are considered abundant, while the size of shortfin populations is not known. Most longfin and shortfin squid are caught with trawls, a gear type that typically catches other unwanted species, known as bycatch. Trawls can also cause damage to seafloor habitats, although the damage is minimal to the sandy bottom habitats where most fishing for longfin and shortfin squid occurs.