While the Falklands Government and International Fishing Companies bemoan the current lack of commercial squid in the Falklands Economic Zone, considerable excitement has been created in the Islands by the catching of a 'giant' squid weighing 200 kilos.
The 'giant' squid, which is of the Architeuthis dux species has a mantle length of 2.7 meters and an overall length of 10 meters, and was caught during a regular trawl by the Fishing Vessel 'John Cheek' which is owned by the Fortuna Fishing Company of Stanley and which has a licence to catch fin fish in the Falklands Zone'. The ship is named after a founder member of the Company, the late Councillor, John Cheek who died several years ago.
The Falklands Fisheries Department's Senior Fisheries Scientist, Russian born Dr. Alexander Arkhipin told MercoPress that the 'John Cheek' was trawling for Hoki (Whiptail hake) about 30 miles South West of Weddell Island, off West Falklands, when the discovery was made on 5 March. The 'giant' squid was immediately put in cold storage. Dr. Arkhipin said that it is quite common for squid of this species to grow to a mantle length of 5 meters and an overall length of 20 meters.
When the vessel arrived in Port Stanley, the Fortuna Company handed the squid over to the Fisheries Department to allow scientific study.
Dr. Arkhipin said that this type of squid normally provides a regular food supply for Sperm Whales and is not commercially caught, unlike the Loligo and Illex species. He said, 'I would not advise that this 'giant' squid be used for human consumption as the flesh contains a high level of ammonia. It is unique to find a squid of this size in such good condition, and accordingly we are planning to send it to the Natural History Museum in London'.
In Stanley more than 100 people, including the Islands Governor Mr. Howard Pearce, visited the Fisheries Department to study and photograph the unusual catch.
Bill Brown - MercoPress - Falkland Islands.