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Squid & Octopuses

Squid and octopuses belong to the group of cephalopods (Cephalopoda). Two distinct species can be found, the octopuses (eight-legged) and the squids (ten-legged). European squid and cuttlefish are most common in the Northsea. Although, squid are physically related to snails and shellfish their ‘lifestyle’ is more similar to that of fish. Many squids species swim in large groups and undertake vast seasonal migrations. Squids lay eggs in the mid-water column and hunt for fish and are food for larger fish and sea mammals. Octopuses often occur more on the seabed.



Cuttlefish, common cuttlefish or European common cuttlefish, live close to the seabed. They have 8 tentacles with two longer tentacles in between to catch pray. Cuttlefish forage at night for crabs and shrimp. Cuttlefish are masters of camouflage and can change their colours to blend in with the environment. It has an internal oval shaped shell instead of bones. These shells can be found washed upon shores and are often eaten by birds for calcium. Cuttlefish swim with a sifo: an internal cavity that creates a jet of water that pushes the cuttlefish backwards and enables it to swim. Cuttlefish reach on average 30 cm in length and have a short life span of 3 years.



Sepia officinalis

Atlantic Ocean, north-east (FAO 27)

Farming- / Catch method

Pots and traps

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Fish stocks and fishing pressure
Ecosystem effects
Fishery management
Final assessment
Explanation assessment

There is not much known about the common cuttlefish. The few data suggest a decline of the stockStock:
The fish of a particular species reproducing in the same area in the same period. 
. The common cuttlefish has a short lifecycle and grows fast. They are a bit susceptible to fishing pressure because they spawn in schools.

The focused fishery on cuttlefish with cuttlefish pots is selective and does not damage the seabed. Occasional bycatchBycatch:
Species caught next to species targeted for fishery. By-catches can consist of non-commercial species and species that are too small, and can be kept (this part is sometimes called by-product) or thrown back into the sea (discards). 
has a high survivability.

The cuttlefish is included in the Common Fishery Policy of the EU. Measures are being taken for catch limits, but that is not effective enough. Management is difficult due to the lack of information about stock size and about the amount of cuttlefish that is caught.


ASC label

Fish with the ASC label is farmed in a sustainable manner.

MSC label

Fish with the MSC label is caught sustainably.

Good fish

This fish is not being overfished or is being responsibly farmed, with minimal impact on the environment.

Second choice

This fish is a second choice. There are still some improvements to be made in this fishery or fish farm.


Do not buy this fish. It's being overfished or the way it's farmed or caught has a negative impact on the environment.


This fish is unwillingly caught while fishing for a different species. They are underused and should be eaten more.


GlobalG.A.P. certified farms are doing a step in the right direction in terms of sustainability. A few species with this label are getting a better score on the VISwijzer.


Organic standards are the strictest when it comes to fish feed. They also require certain measures for animal well-being.

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