Half-tonne colossus squid hauled up from the deep

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Posted by on February 22, 2007 at 06:42:30:

In Reply to: New Zealand fishermen catch rare squid posted by on February 22, 2007 at 06:39:46:

THE giant squid is the stuff of maritime legend but it's got nothing on an extraordinary creature weighing close to half a tonne that's been hauled from Antarctica's icy waters.

Meet colossus squid. Ten metres long. Two massive eyes, each half a metre in diameter.

"There has never been another squid this size captured," stunned squid expert Steve O'Shea said yesterday of the find by New Zealand fishermen in the Ross Sea.

"For over a century, people have talked about the giant squid being the largest squid in the world and it is difficult to break that myth. People didn't want the giant squid toppled, knocked off its throne by this bloody upstart down in New Zealand."

Experts are yet to examine the whopper, but if original estimates are correct it is 150 kilograms heavier than the previous record, a smaller colossus squid found four years ago.

Dr O'Shea, a world renowned expert on the creatures at Auckland's University of Technology, said the scientific community would be abuzz about the catch three weeks ago and announced by the New Zealand Government yesterday.

"I just think it's marvellous now that we can once and for all put all this to bed. Here we do have a squid, much larger and considerably more ferocious than a giant squid," he said.

While giant squid can grow longer, they only reach a maximum weight of about 275 kilograms, lightweights next to the 450-kilogram colossus.

New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton described how it was hauled from the deep by the crew of the San Aspiring.

"It was actually eating a toothfish, which was on a long-line. It was eating it up as it came up," Mr Anderton said.

When the crew realised what they'd caught, they spent two hours manoeuvring a net underneath it to haul it on board.

It is being stored in a coolroom but will ultimately end up in a Wellington museum.

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