Next time you go fishing, be sure to bring a video camera

Newsweek has a story about the capture of the colossal squid, and it sounds like a) there will be video footage released next month, and b) the boat captain made a good bit of money off of it.

Dolan, the Ministry of Fisheries observer, remembers being surprised at how docile and sluggish the squid was. “It really didn’t put up much of a fight,” he says. “Its tentacles were moving back and forth, but that’s about it. It certainly wasn’t grabbing crew members and pulling them back into the sea.”

As it happens, Bennett had brought along a video camera in order to film a small documentary about Antarctic toothfishing for a New Zealand TV station (that’s Chilean sea bass to you and me). He was able to capture a good bit of footage of the squid being hauled in. Bennett confirms that a production company in Auckland bought the footage, though he declines to specify what he was paid. An official with the Ministry of Fisheries told NEWSWEEK that offers to buy the footage had been pouring in and that some were “longer than a telephone number.” Bennett said that a documentary featuring the coveted footage should be released sometime in April.

We also learn about the future fate of the specimen.

Once aboard, the squid was lowered into the ship’s cargo hold and put on ice for the next two weeks as Bennett and his crew chugged 1,700 miles back to the southern coast of New Zealand. The squid remains frozen solid as preparations are being made to hand it over to the Museum of New Zealand in Wellington. That should happen on March 11, O’Shea says. But first, museum officials have to figure out how to store the thing. “The problem is we haven’t seen it yet,” says museum spokesperson Jane Keig. “We need to get it here to see how we’ll preserve it.”

That won’t be easy, says O’Shea. “We’re dealing with a 450-kilogram frozen lump of flesh. We’ve got to have a specially designed tank constructed.” O’Shea estimates that it could take up to four days for the squid to completely thaw out, a delicate process that will leave him and his colleagues only a small time frame in which to take samples and examine it. Still, those precious minutes could prove more valuable than years worth of colossal squid research. “The scientific value is enormous. It’ll more than double our knowledge,” says O’Shea, who hopes the research will shed light on the species’ hunting and mating behavior, its age and its intelligence (which O’Shea already suspects to be fairly negligible). The brain of a 275-kilogram giant squid is only about 20 grams and shaped like a doughnut, he says, “There’s not a lot of comprehension going on up there.” Might the colossal squid be brighter than its smaller cousin? “Doubtful,” says O’Shea. “In all likelihood, it’s one of the stupidest creatures in the sea.”

Now that’s just mean.


  1. Bob says

    In all likelihood, it’s one of the stupidest creatures in the sea

    Until Ken Hovind goes to the beach ;)

  2. blf says

    I’m just hoping there’s another, bigger species of squid we’ve missed. The Super-Ginormous-Mega-Squid.

    Unfortunately, no: There are insufficient “Dr Dino” Hovinds to keep a viable population fed. ;-)

  3. jbark says

    If you weigh 500 pounds, live in the dark, and have hundreds of razor sharp suckers on all your appendages, brains probably ARE rather superfluous.

  4. Basking Snark says

    If you weigh 500 pounds, live in the dark, and have hundreds of razor sharp suckers on all your appendages…

    … you probably watch a lot of TV.

  5. skunqesh says

    Mmmmm… doughnut shaped brain… drrooooolll…

    But let’s be fair – put Doug Feith in a boat and Mr. Big Squid’s got serious competition for teh stoopid.

  6. JohnnieCanuck says


    I hope you do not have the means to enjoy a plateful of squid brains. A 20 gram brain is the weight of 4 US nickels. It would take 14 such brains to equal a 10 oz steak.

    In other news, 275 kg is actually over 600 lb. And if you weigh 450 kg * 2.2 = 992 pounds, how much tv have you been watching?

  7. Magnum says

    It should be noted that phone numbers in New Zealand probably aren’t very long.

  8. agogmagog says

    NZ phone numbers (including area code) are 9 digits long.
    After converting from NZ dollars to US dollars, this is still a pretty good return for a few minutes of dying cephalapod footage.
    While renowned for our 9 digit phone numbers, New Zealand also boasts bats that hunt on foot and giant carnivorous snails, among other biological oddities (the most odd of which are now extinct, alas) We play a bit of rugby as well.