World's Largest Squid Caught by Kiwi Fishermen in Antarctic Waters in 2007 stops traffic in Wellington in 2008
Also a great video from National Geographic of a giant squid in the wild filmed by Japanese Scientists
WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A fishing crew has caught a colossal squid that could weigh a half-ton and prove to be the biggest specimen ever landed, a fisheries official said Thursday.
The squid, weighing an estimated 990 pounds and about 39 feet long, took two hours to land in Antarctic waters, New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said.
The fishermen were catching Patagonian toothfish, sold under the name Chilean sea bass, south of New Zealand “and the squid was eating a hooked toothfish when it was hauled from the deep,” Anderton said in a statement. Read the full story here
The World Today - Monday, 1 December , 2008 12:50:00
Reporter: Kerri Ritchie
ELEANOR HALL: In the New Zealand capital Wellington, traffic has been brought to a standstill by a giant squid.
The 500 kilogram sea creature which developed a world-wide following when it was defrosted over the Internet has just been moved to the country's national museum, with some help from a police escort.
The colossal squid was caught by a New Zealand fisherman in the Ross Sea in Antarctica last year.
New Zealand correspondent Kerri Ritchie spoke to Jane Keig from the Te Papa Museum, where the squid is about to go on display.
JANE KEIG: Well the latest in the saga of the colossal squid is that we moved it from the Tory Street research facility which is probably about five blocks away from Te Papa, the museum itself.
We got a massive crane in, to the specimen in its tank onto a truck, a hydraulic truck and then we set off on a convoy with a police escort who stopped traffic. Now the reason we needed to have a traffic policeman there is because we actually had to cross state highway 1.
So he stopped the traffic for us, we got down to Te Papa and moved the squid into the building.
KERRI RITCHIE: So what was the squid in?
JANE KEIG: It's in its display tank, now it's a stainless steel purpose built display tank, it weighs around two tonne and with the squid inside it weighs about 2.5 tonne.
Now we took all the liquid out of the tanks so it was sitting on the bottom of the tank, and it was covered in protective plastic film and that was weighted down. So when we actually opened up the tank down in the exhibition area, she hadn't moved at all. So it was a very successful move.
KERRI RITCHIE: So it's arrived safely and what happens now?
JANE KEIG: We've got our conservator down in the exhibition space, we're gradually filling up that tank with liquid again, it's going to be in a glycol mixture and that's going to have antibacterial agents in it as well, so we can keep the specimen as tidy as possible.
Now usually with specimens like this we preserve them in alcohol. Now because the specimen is going to be on display, having an alcohol solution isn't the right thing in terms of health and safety. So we're actually testing this glycol mixture, so yeah it's quite exciting.
KERRI RITCHIE: Scientists have been looking at this squid for months, have they found out anything exciting?
JANE KEIG: We know it has the most massive eye, the largest eye in the animal kingdom. We know it's a girl. But there's still a lot of questions that are left unanswered, there's still so much that scientists don't know about this creature.
In the exhibition we're going to have a 3D animation film, so you can pick up your 3D glasses and watch this animation of how we think this creature behaved in the deep ocean.
But again, we know so little about these creatures. Scientists are always quite keen to get down there and observe a creature in its natural habitat and regrettable because they live at such great, great depths we haven't had the opportunity to do that.
And they live in one of the most remote places in the world, the Ross Sea down in the Antarctic Ocean.
KERRI RITCHIE: What do you think it is about this particular colossal squid, why has it captured the hearts of people in Wellington and people around the world?
JANE KEIG: Yep, absolutely, we had about 450,000 visits to our website during the squid defrost, which was just amazing and it was quite unprecedented in New Zealand. It's a monster of the deep. I think that the attraction is that we do know so little about them.
We have this community of squid fans who are in regular contact with the museum through the blog, it's just it's been such an amazing experience, it really has.
ELEANOR HALL: Jane Keig is from the Te Papa museum in Wellington where the monster is about to go on display. She was speaking to our New Zealand correspondent Kerri Ritchie.