Marine biologists at the Te Papa Tongarewa museum of New Zealand are at the time of this writing thawing out and examining a Colossal Squid that was found clutching a sought Patagonian Toothfish in the Antarctic.
Put that huge Toothfish together with the nearly 1100 pound Colossal Squid and you’ve got a seafood lover’s feast of greed for a year or more. But, actually, this is a specimen that was frozen when first caught in February of 2007 by Toothfish fishermen, and it will be put on display in a tank in the museum once DNA analysis and other investigations are carried out on it.
The Colossal Squid grows up to 46 feet long and can dive down as deep as 6500 feet. It lives in the coldest, darkest depths of the oceans. This one that got caught is a captive record 26 feet long. This creature is the largest invertebrate known to exist in the world.
Chris Paulin, the projects manager at the Te Papa Tongarewa, says that marine biologists suspect that their thawing specimen might be small compared to the typical adult specimen of its kind.
"This squid is a really nasty, aggressive sort of squid…with seriously evil arms on it. Without any doubt if you fell in the water, you could be shredded to bits by a colossal squid. It is the T-Rex of the oceans," says Dr. Steve O’Shea of Auckland University of Technology.
At present, the Patagonian Toothfish is harvested under management by the Incipient Fisheries Management Development Regime under the General Fisheries and Aquaculture Law, so that quotas are not exceeded; at present these have been set at 3,000 tons. In 1992, over 17,700 tons were caught, but since then ocean wildlife conservation groups’ pressures and species migration have forced far smaller quotas to be put in place.
It is a Southern Hemisphere fish and is sold in the United States as the "Chilean Seabass".
As of now, a seafood lovers’ fantasy event is taking place as La Araucana Education Corporation and four private Chilean companies are setting up to launch a Patagonian Toothfish farming endeavor in Chile that will cost over $2.2 million US and four years to get up and running.
60% of the undertaking’s financing is coming out of Chile’s Scientific and Technological Development Fund (FONDEF). The other 40% is being provided by private investment stakeholders.
As of now, the Toothfish is not a suitable fish to be bred in domesticated fish farms. The endeavor in Chile will seek to change that. The fish, which dwells in deep waters below 2000 feet under the surface waters, is a delicacy like lobster.