St. Lawrence species

Northern shortfin squid

Illex illecebrosus

Type of resource

  • cephalopod
  • Seafood
  • Seafood - molluscs

Status of the resource

  • Not a cause for concern

In season

Fresh during the summer until September.

SIZE : Mantle length of males from 18 to 27 cm, up to 31 cm for females.

LIFE EXPECTANCY : Approximately 1 year.

LIFE CYCLE : Squid reproduce from June to December and die shortly after, which explains their short life span.

Credit : Claude Nozères, photo taken in 2010.

Lacking bones, the Squid has a semi-transparent inner shell called a feather and a porous interior texture. The squid stores more or less gas there to regulate its buoyancy.

Its beak is the only solid part of this cephalopod. It stays in the stomach of its predators for a long time and can ultimately become a fossil.

The siphon serves as a rudder. The squid can propel itself by expelling water through its siphon or ink to make the water cloudy and get out of tricky situations.

The Squid has 6 arms and 2 tentacles, all with suction cups. These are used to catch its prey and immobilise it. It also has 2 triangular fins that allow it to swim. Finally, the squid’s mantle makes up its body, in which are located most of the organs. Its colour is milky white with a touch of rusty brown. The Squid can change colours to defend itself or to communicate.

In the water column, up to 500 m in depth.
Squid stay in the deep during daytime and migrate near the surface at night to nourish themselves.


Young cods


Northern Gannets

An accomplished predator

Squid saliva is filled with toxins which allow it to paralyse its prey. Not to worry, it does not work on humans.

MACHINES : Squid jigging.


14 permits are issued in Quebec. Jigging has been around since the 1800s, grew in the 1970s, but lost interest in the 1980s. A recovery could be possible, but only with the re-learning of the required skills.

For the time being, Squid, both fresh and frozen, is mostly imported. In 2020, imports represented $63 million.

Good source of protein, minerals, and vitamin B. Rich in Omega-3. Low in fat, as long as it is not eaten fried, of course. Harmful substances, such as mercury, are accumulated in the digestive gland, which is not eaten and therefore poses little risk of contamination.

Firm and slightly rubbery white meat, which is sweet to the taste.
Squid is often consumed deep-fried, but have you tried it blanched, stuffed, marinated, or pan-fried? It can be eaten hot or cold, even raw if it is fresh. It is delicious with lemon juice, garlic, or olive oil. Its heavily scented ink is also quite edible.
It will stay fresh for 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer.


  • A thorough cleaning must be done before starting any prepping.
  • Cut along its length to maintain its texture.
  • Cook for a short time to keep its meat tender: 10 minutes in a sauce, 15 to 20 minutes in the oven at 375°F (190°C).
  • If you choose to fry the squid, firstly remove as much moisture as possible, then fry at high temperature for 4 to 5 minutes.