None of this is necessary. Leaving fish (and other animals) off our plates is the most humane choice–and the best way to help replenish the world’s fragile oceans. It is the only way to ensure that spectacular animals like the colossal squid, surely one of the most mysterious beings of the deep ocean, are spared the indignity of being violently hauled out of their watery homes and turned into the butt of cheap jokes.
The dialogue on vegetarianism and reducing fishing does not really bother me. My wife and I were vegetarian for several years and even now minimize our meat consumption. However, Moore seems to not comprehend the importance of capture. We know nothing of the basic physiology, anatomy, and ecology of the species that would ultimately lead to better conservation decisions.
“We know relatively nothing about them,” admits Steve O’Shea, director of the Earth and Oceanic Sciences Research Institute at the Auckland University of Technology and one of the world’s leading squid experts…”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. From MSNBC.
Moore also fails to mention another very important point.
International law [Antarctic Treaty] requires that anything caught in Antarctic waters must be kept onboard and documented to guard against overfishing.
Moore goes on rail against the jokes made about the individual as calamari. First let me say that they are not likely to be edible. Giant squid have urea, which is lighter than water, in their circulatory systems to help maintain buoyancy. Second, the only mention of calamari was Steve O’Sheas comment.
If calamari rings were made from the squid they would be the size of tractor tires, he added.
I actually thought this was a brilliant analogy. Most people during the course of their life have encountered fried calamari…it is usually about the size of quarter in diameter. To allow people to envision how large this individual was (even I cannot visualize a 1/2 ton), Steve made this comment. It works and it works really well! And thus you have all the calamari comments to follow.
Moore also quotes several media outlets that stated global warming would increase squid sizes and the joking about it.
…there is growing evidence to suggest that even normal squid are becoming gradually larger thanks to rising sea temperatures. It may well be one of the few positive effects of global warming: for those who enjoy meaty calamari, recent research suggests that while rising sea temperatures can have a catastrophic effect on many species of fish, squid and octopuses become bigger in warmer waters. Scientists in Australia discovered five years ago that the breeding cycle and growth rate of squid is directly related to the temperature of the sea. A 1 per cent increase in the temperature of the water where they reproduce and feed can cause juvenile squid to double their size. The reason for such colossal growth, scientists believe, is because the animals’ digestive enzymes work faster in warmer waters. “The good news is they taste great,” says John Forsythe, an expert on Cephalopods, the biological family to which squid belong. “They’re pure protein and they have no bones.”
First, evidence also shows that cooler temperature can cause increases in body size and thus aptly name phenomena of polar gigantisism so I am not exactly sure this will be the case for all species. Second it doesn’t appear that John is making a joke. Thousands of people do think calamari taste great and they are pure protein. I personally am not one of them.
So overall I am not quite sure what Paula Moore is trying to say. The use of the colossal squid capture to rail against the fishing industry is contrived at best. Moreover, it appears to be a tirade on scientists and what supposedly they said. The press always get quotes wrong or place them in the wrong context. Paula never contacted either Steve or John for the accuracy or context of these statements. Indeed, it may not be best to turn allies into enemies.