The population of Loligo forbesi inhabiting the Azorean Archipelago achieves the largest size ever reported for this species but also for any Loliginidae. Despite their importance as a food source for local communities, very little is known about their biology and ecology. In this paper, we describe our efforts in capturing, transporting, handling, tagging and holding wild adult L. forbesi in the laboratory. Three culture trials were conducted in the Island of Faial, Azores. Over 84 squid were captured by jigging, transported in separate containers and placed in a recirculating seawater system composed of three 3.6 m circular tanks (8000 l capacity each). Drawings and technical details about the system (filtration system, tanks, liners, illumination, flow rates, etc.) as well as water quality parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, iron, pH, salinity and temperature) are presented. By keeping squid in separate bags and providing constant water flow, no mortality occurred during transport from fishing ground to the laboratory. Mean survival time for each trial was 8 days (1503 g mean weight), 17 days (595.1 g mean weight) and 11 days (826.1 g). A small female remained alive for 44 days. In this system, mortality was faster for larger squid. Low survival time could be attributed to bad water quality management, namely high ammonia levels and high temperature variations but also restricted swimming space for larger squid (>1000 g). Pin tags proved to be the most adequate method of distinguishing between individuals. Squid were fed a variety of fish species, either fresh or defrosted. Daily feeding rates varied between 0 and 7.8% body weight (BW day−1). Most squid lost weight or did not grow. However, some individuals showed a positive increase in BW, varying between 0.009 and 1.4% increase in BW day−1. Key factors to take into account for increasing laboratory survival are: (1) catching squid with jigs; (2) prevention of skin damage during transport; (3) maintenance of small individuals; (4) segregating sexes to reduce agonistic interactions; (5) providing good water quality; and (6) abundant food supply.