The Squidman returns...


Jan 22, 2004
This time it's personal!

And for those who can't be bothered with clicking on the above link:
Squidman set to bring up baby

Squidman is looking forward to becoming a father, although he is well aware the 4000 baby squid he is hoping to rear into adults are just as likely to bite his hand off as look at him with thanks or even a hint of recognition.

Squid are Steve O'Shea's obsession and when the baby squid, currently still masses of eggs at Kelly Tarlton's in Auckland, hatch in a month the race is on to be the first in the world to grow them to adults.

No one has ever done this before although Dr O'Shea, senior research fellow at Auckland University of Technology's earth and oceanic sciences research institute, has previously reared them to 190 days, the current world record.

Dr O'Shea, a world renowned squid expert, says he is embarking on his latest squid venture for the challenge, not the competition.

He was told it was impossible and he is going to keep trying until he does it. It is not easy growing squid and they have nasty beaks which can - and have - ripped flesh from the scientist's arm. He shows one of his scars to prove it, from a bite inflicted by a squid only about a foot long.

So what is the point of it all?

"Um. None. I said I could do it and people are fascinated by the animals. There's a tank on display down there [at Kelly Tarlton's] and people are mesmerised by them." And it is fun, he says, although attempting to rear the last lot nearly killed him.

It is hard, hard work and when he physically crashed from the effort of looking after them, his squid all died. But this time he has a team of 14 people helping. "It's a seven day a week, 18-hour-day job keeping these things alive and this is why nobody's got live squid on display anywhere in the world."

They have to be fed live food and they eat food one to one-and-a-half times their size, which means collecting an awful lot of shrimp.

The squid he plans to rear are called broad squid and grow to 75cm long - but Dr O'Shea has another, much bigger, goal. He is hoping to capture a juvenile giant squid, which could grow to up to 14m.

He would like to grow it to between three and four metres long, attach a camera, release it back to the ocean and see what happens.

This, too, would be a world first. The only real hands-on experience he has with giant squids are dead ones, like the one which was found on Farewell Spit last month.

It is now defrosting in an Auckland warehouse waiting for Dr O'Shea to perform an autopsy.

Squid, which Dr O'Shea admits he likes to eat fresh from the sea and lightly fried in butter, are "incredibly stupid" animals with tiny brains and tend to attack anything.

Why the obsession with squid? Dr O'Shea says even he finds it hard to fathom, but partly it's about whales and conservation - about which he is passionate.

He says that back in the 1960s the sperm whale was eating 37-and-a-half per cent of commercial fish species, like orange roughy and hoki. But with those fish now driven to local extinction, the whale has had to change its diet to squid. The trouble is, squid are also in trouble, he says, with seven of the 21 types of squid that the sperm whale eats probably already extinct.


Where would one keep a LIVE 14m squid??????

I'm not sure even Kelly's have the space for that.........of course they could alway get rid of those pesky penguins, seal up their enclosure and fill with seawater............. :biggrin2:

just fill it up with water.... im sure a ~50 ft squid wouldnt mind penguin tempura.....

im sure john (fujisawas sake) knows the reference i'm making.... :twisted: :cthulhu: :twisted:

"make sure he doesn't pick your pocket"
Wait, did I miss something? When did squid get stupid? When was Steve more passionate about whales than squid? When am I going to pay attention?
perhaps he was just in a rush to go buy ND tickets, and spouted off that know how cranky he can be!

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