Entries Tagged "squid"

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Friday Squid Blogging: Unusually Large Numbers of Squid in the Bering Sea

No explanation given, but it’s annoying fishermen:

The problem took on alarming proportions in early July when fishermen netted more than 500 tons of squid bycatch in one week, Josh Keaton, a resource management specialist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, said Friday.

The amount of squid was about four times what might be expected.

“We confirmed that the numbers were real and they really did catch that amount of squid. We then tried to find out where the squid were caught,” Keaton said.

While high rates of squid bycatch had occurred before, this time it set off alarm bells because the squid were caught near the start of the mid-June-through-September pollock season.

“I just about had a heart attack. That is a lot of squid,” said Karl Haflinger, president of Sea State Inc. of Seattle, which helps the industry manage bycatch, the unwanted and often wasted fish caught along with the targeted fish.

Posted on July 28, 2006 at 3:37 PMView Comments

Friday Squid Blogging: Humboldt Squid

Great article on the Humboldt squid from Outside Magazine:

I worry about these things because Cassell, 44, a world-class diver, underwater cameraman, and Special Operations vet from Escondido, California, is out to convince me — live and up close — that the undersea world’s most intriguing predator is not one of the usual suspects (like the great white shark or killer whale) but a powerful, outsize squid that features eight snakelike arms lined with suckers full of nasty little teeth, a razor-sharp beak that can rapidly rip flesh into bite-size chunks, and an unrelenting hunger. It’s called the Humboldt, or jumbo, squid, and it’s not the sort of calamari you’re used to forking off your dinner plate. This squid grows to seven feet or more and perhaps a couple hundred pounds. It has a rep as the outlaw biker of the marine world: intelligent and opportunistic, a stone-cold cannibal willing to attack divers with a seemingly deliberate hostility.

What about the giant squid, you may ask? “Wimpy,” says Cassell. The giant — which grows to 60-plus feet and is one of only four squid, out of the 400 or so species found in the oceans, that are human-size or bigger — is generally considered to be fairly placid. In any case, it’s so elusive, no modern squid hunter has ever even seen one alive. No, if you want a scary squid, you want a Humboldt. And they’re easy to find, teeming by the millions in Pacific waters from Chile to British Columbia. (It’s named after the Humboldt Current, off South America’s west coast.)

Cassell first heard about the “diablos rojos,” or red devils, in 1995, from some Mexican fishermen as he was filming gray whales for German public television in Baja’s Laguna San Ignacio. Intrigued, he made his way to La Paz, near the southern tip of Baja, to dive under the squid-fishing fleet. It was baptism by tentacle. Humboldts — mostly five-footers — swarmed around him. As Cassell tells it, one attacked his camera, which smashed into his face, while another wrapped itself around his head and yanked hard on his right arm, dislocating his shoulder. A third bit into his chest, and as he tried to protect himself he was gang-dragged so quickly from 30 to 70 feet that he didn’t have time to equalize properly, and his right eardrum ruptured. “I was in the water five minutes and I already had my first injury,” Cassell recalls, shaking his head. “It was like being in a barroom brawl.” Somehow he managed to push the squid-pile off and make his way to the surface, battered and exhilarated. “I was in love with the animal,” he says.

Posted on July 21, 2006 at 3:23 PMView Comments

Friday Squid Blogging: A Marine Biologist Comments on "Pirates of the Caribbean"

It’s got squid:

Danna: As you can imagine, I was pleased with the strong cephalopod theme.

Charles: I thought you might be upset by the reinforcement of negative squid stereotypes.

Danna: This might be another “take what I can get” moment. I was somewhat upset that the Kraken had all those teeth instead of a beak, though.

Charles: Well, lots of teeth are scarier.

Danna: I’d have to disagree, having spent a couple of weeks getting very personal with jumbo squid beaks. They’re very, very sharp.

Charles: I’ll take your word for it. I’ve never been personal with a squid before.

Danna: That’s probably just as well. Ink and mucus isn’t for everyone.

Posted on July 14, 2006 at 10:12 PMView Comments

Friday Squid Blogging: Former Squid Researcher to Lead Episcopal Church

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of Nevada was elected as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church:

A former research oceanographer who studied squid, octopuses and creatures living in marine mud, she was a second-career priest who was ordained in 1994.

The jokes have begun:

One wag noted that the study of invertebrates makes Bishop Schori supremely qualified to rule the ECUSA. She’s studied oysters and squids…this is a mental picture that I really did not need. Is this a case of ‘squid pro quo’?

Do you suspect that ECUSA elected an oceanographer as its primate in recognition that it is floundering?

Posted on June 30, 2006 at 3:41 PMView Comments

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.