The aim of this work was to evaluate the effect of various atmosphere compositions (20% CO2/80% N2 for modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) 1, 50% CO2/50% N2 for MAP 2, 70% CO2/30% N2 for MAP 3 and vacuum packaging) on the microbial (mesophiles, psychrophiles, Pseudomonas spp., Brochothrix thermosphacta and Enterobacteriaceae), physical, chemical [trimethylamine (TMA) and total volatile basic nitrogen (TVBN)] and sensorial characteristics of broadtail squid (Illex coindetii) stored for 10 days at 2 ± 1 °C. All microbial populations were severely restrained by MAP 3 with the exception of Enterobacteriaceae, which seemed to take advantage of the lack of competitive microflora and had enhanced microbial counts on MAP samples (P < 0.05). Colour attributes were better maintained on MAP-stored samples. Drip loss was less on vacuum-packaged squids. MAP 2 was the best atmosphere for the preservation of tissue consistency. TMA and TVBN formation was limited by high CO2 atmospheres, even though both elevated in all studied conditions. Shelf life based on sensory characteristics was determined to be 10, 8, 6, 6 and 4 days for MAP 3, MAP 2, MAP 1, vacuum and control samples, respectively.