SYMPATHY FOR THE SEA DEVIL
As a postscript to the last blog entry, I'd like to comment briefly on the 10m long Colossal Squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) that was caught off Antarctica by a New Zealand trawler this week. Although the trawler was long-lining for Toothfish, and not out to catch the squid, i can't help feeling sad for the squid. Cephalopods, like whales, are intelligent creatures, relatively speaking, and a squid this size must have reached a ripe old age, so I feel total sympathy that it should suddenly find itself hooked and gaffed and dragged on board a fishing boat, although the scientific importance is significant.
Ah well, it's just the one. There was a Giant Squid (Architeuthis dux) that got hooked similarly last year by a Japanese boat, and was filmed thrashing frantically to escape. It only broke free by severing its own tentacle. There was also one, a female, which was hauled thrashing from the sea back in 2003. There's a low quality video clip of it here.
In many ways, these huge animals are like the whales; maginificent, rare, long-lived and slow-breeding. It's just as well they taste of ammonia, or I'm sure we'd be fishing for them too, and let's face it, other than people like me, who amongst the general public would sympathise with them?