Killing Off The Sea Monster

Mark Dery profiles “the Kraken of tall tales and sea shanties—Architeuthis, the giant squid.” Why we are seeing more of them in the media:

Typically, Architeuthis can be found in the neighborhood of 400 to 900 meters, from the mesopelagic to the upper bathypelagic zones, he says; Mesonychoteuthis lives further down the water column, “probably 800 to a thousand meters.” According to Roper, “a lot of the deep-sea fishing nets, now, are going down to a thousand to 1200 meters.”

Not only are we reaching deeper into the ocean, he says, but we’re extending our geographic reach as well. Fisheries now extend “way down in the southern ocean, down around Antarctica. Until recently, there was no fishery down there, but with the traditional fish populations pretty well decimated, fishermen have to go farther afield, [and] they have to go deeper and deeper.” This, he explains, is why big squid are turning up in what is known as “by-catch”—the accidental capture of species other than the ones you’re fishing for (the vast majority of which are dumped overboard, dead).