Man eater squids devouring fish stock in Pacific

Millions of giant squids have been devouring fish stock and attacking humans in the Pacific Ocean.

Last Updated: Aug 30, 2010, 09:38 AM IST

London: Millions of giant squids have been devouring fish stock and attacking humans in the Pacific Ocean, causing potential threat to marine ecosystem.

Monster squid are the stuff of legend. But for fishermen and marine biologists along 10,000 miles of coast from Chile to Alaska, the myth has become reality. And their story is told this week in a Channel Five documentary.

Experts believe they may be taking advantage of warmer waters due to climate change, according to the Daily Express.

The giant squid called "diablos rojos" (red devils) recently dragged two Mexican fishermen from their boats and chewed so badly that their bodies could not be identified even by their own families.

Experts say that since 2002, Humboldt giant squid, named after the 18th century German explorer, have been spreading their tentacles to deplete fish stocks by moving from their traditional tropical hunting grounds off Mexico and laying claim to a vast sweep of the Pacific.

Hunting in 1,000-strong packs the squid can out-swim and out-think fish. Scientists believe they coordinate attacks by using pigment cells to communicate.

A single female is believed to be able to lay 30 million eggs, each one capable of becoming a giant killing machine, the report said.

Marine biologists wear chain-mail to protect themselves from creatures that measure 8ft, weigh 100lb and carry an armoury of more than 40,000 fearsome teeth along two "attack" tentacles.
The creatures have another eight "legs" for grasping and swimming and can reach speeds of more than 15mph.

Former US special forces diver Scott Cassell, who studies squid, was also attacked.
He said. "Within five minutes my right shoulder had been pulled out of its socket. I had 30 big marks on my head and throat and one squid hit me so hard I saw stars. They then grabbed on to me and pulled me down so fast that I could not equalise and I ruptured my eardrum.

"They are the most opportunistic predators on the planet. They eat everything in their path. One Humboldt squid in the course of two years can eat 27,000lb of fish. What is going to be the impact on the environment?"

IANS