Scientists from NOAA’s Fisheries Service have captured a giant squid while conducting research off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico. This is only the second known giant squid obtained from the Gulf of Mexico – the first was collected in 1954 off the Mississippi Delta where it was found floating dead at the surface.
This giant squid was collected on July 30, during a 60-day scientific study where scientists from NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center and the Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service were studying the availability and diversity of sperm whale prey. The scientists were aboard the NOAA research vessel Gordon Gunter when the squid was caught in a trawl pulled behind the research vessel at a depth of more than 1,500 feet.
“As the trawl net rose out of the water, I could see that we had something big in there…really big,” said Anthony Martinez, marine mammal scientist for NOAA’s Fisheries Service and chief scientist for this research cruise. “We knew there was a remote possibility of encountering a giant squid on this cruise, but it was not something we were realistically expecting.”
This giant squid was preserved and sent to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum for Natural History for further study. It measures just over 19½ feet long and weighs more than 103 pounds.