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World records and endangered squid

7 October 2004

World-record attempt to highlight plight of endangered squid

An attempt to break the world record for keeping squid alive will highlight the plight of the endangered animals to thousands across the world, says world-renowned squid expert, Dr Steve O'Shea.

A Senior Research Fellow at the Auckland University of Technology, Dr O'Shea is monitoring the progress of an egg sack of broad squid larvae suspended in a tank, which is located in Auckland University of Technology's School of Applied Sciences.

The tank is monitored by a movable web-cam and can be viewed live at The squidcam is part of the Science Site, a unique science news site, which promotes science to teenagers and has had 18,400 visitors over the past year. The site can be accessed at

Dr O'Shea currently holds the world record for keeping deep-sea squid alive in captivity (120 days) and is working on improving the techniques for doing this.

"By finding out how these squid live in captivity in terms of their behaviour, what their dietary needs are, as well as the optimum tank conditions for keeping them alive, we will be one step closer to the ultimate aim of the experiment raising giant squid in captivity."

Dr O'Shea says that although little is known about cephalopods (octopus and squid), the activities of commercial fisheries are destroying the environment in which they live.

"The activities of commercial fisheries in New Zealand waters and across the world are not only depleting fishing stocks but also destroying the habitat of a wide variety of cephalopod species.

"Tragically, many are yet to be discovered and some are likely to become extinct even before they are known to science. Five species of squid and octopus endemic to New Zealand waters are critically endangered and facing imminent extinction - four of these were only discovered as recently as 1999."

To help public understanding of the giant squid's plight, Dr O'Shea invites members of the public to view and if they wish, touch the largest Giant Squid ever discovered.

The near 300 kg specimen that washed up on Farewell Spit earlier this year, is being stored by Dr O'Shea at Auckland University of Technology, and will be available to the public to view or if they wish to touch. Dr O'Shea will then give a lecture on new developments in squid research and conservation.

What? Public viewing of world's largest squid & lecture on new developments in squid research and conservation.

Where? Lecture theatre WS 114 - ground floor Faculty of Science and Engineering building, St Paul's Street, Auckland University of Technology Wellesley Street Campus.

When? Monday 11th October squid viewing 5-6:30pm - public lecture 7-8pm


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