- Nov 22, 2003
- Reaction score
This is just stunning:
How the Colossal Squid Was Caught
How the worlds largest squid was caughtand the bidding war for the exclusive footage slated to be shown this spring.
By Matthew Philips
Updated: 4:35 p.m. CT March 7, 2007
March 07, 2007 - John Bennett is used to the monotony. As captain of a New Zealand commercial fishing boat, hes accustomed to spending months at a time afloat in the Antarctic Ocean, staring atwell, nothing. Just ice really, lots and lots of ice, says Bennett. Sometimes, not even a seabird. On a particularly calm day in late January, Bennett was tending to his deep-sea fishing lineseach one 2,000 meters long (nearly a mile and a quarter), and sporting up to 10,000 baited hooksin hopes of a major toothfish haul. Suddenly, the calm was shatteredby the sight of a colossal squid surfacing near the stern. The beast, a 33-foot-long adult male weighing half a ton, had wrapped itself around one of Bennetts lines. It was just this great big brown shape, recalls Bennett, who was watching from the bridge. It came up right alongside us. Everyone was yelling and screaming.
Bennett hurried to the deck to confer with Geoff Dolan, an observer from the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries who was on board. International law requires that anything caught in Antarctic waters must be kept onboard and documented to guard against overfishing. So Bennett really didnt have a choice but to haul in the squid. We decided to get him onboard in as good a condition as we could, says Bennett. If wed released him, he wouldnt have survived. By then the crew had gaffed the creature in an attempt to get it off the line. But its grip was tight, both on the line and on the five-foot-long toothfish he was eating. He wasnt giving up that fish, says Bennett. When we finally pulled him in, the fish was half-eaten.
What Bennett and his crew pulled in that day turned out to be the largest colossal squid ever recoveredcause for considerable excitement aboard his ship, the San Aspiring, and around the world. As word of the catch spread late last month, the news wires buzzed with squidmania. WORLDS LARGEST INVERTEBRATE CAPTURED read the headlines. If cut up for calamari, the stories said, the squid would produce rings the size of tractor tires. As word got out that the catch had actually been recorded on video, Bennett found himself in the middle of an international bidding war.