U.S. scientists net giant squid in Gulf of Mexico

American scientists down in the Gulf of Mexico accidently caught a giant nineteen foot squid just off the coast of Louisiana, according to a press statement released by the department of the interior, just showing how very little we now about what goes on within the deep waters of the gulf.

There has not been a sighting or a capture of giant squid in the gulf of Mexico since way back in 1954, when a dead giant squid was found floating just off the Mississippi delta.

Weighing more than 103 pounds, the giant squid, was caught on the 30th of July in a trawlers net more than 1500 feet deep as it was pulling up a research vessel.

Unfortunately, the squid did not survive the rapid change of pressure from the change in water depth when it was bought to the surface, was quickly preserved and sent to the Smithsonian institute’s national museum of natural history for further examination and study.

The research vessel was conducting a pilot study on the dietary patterns and habits of sperm whales. The study was being conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration along with the Interior departments’ minerals management service.

“As the trawl net rose out of the water, I could see that we had something big in there … really big,” Anthony Martinez, a marine mammal scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the chief scientist on the research cruise, said in a statement.

“This find illustrates how little we know about what is swimming around in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico,” he said.

The last remnants of giant squid have been found before, usually in the stomachs of its known predators but this find is particularly significant as a single specimen has never been caught and been kept in such good condition to be studied

Giant squid, which can be 40 feet long, are usually found in deep-water fisheries, such as off Spain and New Zealand.

“This is the first time one has actually been captured during scientific research in the Gulf of Mexico,” he said.

The joint NOAA-MMS pilot study responsible for the find is part of a two-year, $550,000 study to determine the abundance and diversity of the type of fish and squid that sperm whales seek as prey.