DEADLY sea monsters have woken from the deep to cause carnage among some of the world’s richest fishing grounds. Millions of killer giant squid are not only devouring vast amounts of fish they have even started attacking humans.
Two Mexican fishermen were recently dragged from their boats and chewed so badly that their bodies could not be identified even by their own families. No wonder the giant squid are called “diablos rojos” – red devils.
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.
Since 2002, Humboldt giant squid, named after the 18th century German explorer, have been spreading their tentacles to deplete fishing 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 giant 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.
Marine biologists wear chain-mail to protect themselves from creatures that can 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 has put his life on the line to study the squid. He too has been 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?”
Experts believe they may be taking advantage of warmer waters due to climate change. The threat to fisheries and marine ecosystems is explained in the documentary.