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Rare giant squid brought up in fisherman’s nets off Kerry

Second giant squid discovery near Dingle since May

Biologist Kevin Flannery on the ‘Cu Na Mara’ boat in Dingle to collect the giant squid. Photograph: Domnick Walsh

A giant squid has been landed by fishermen off the coast of Co Kerry, the second such incident.

The discovery prompted a call by Dingle marine biologist Dr Kevin Flannery on the Marine Institute to explore whether the Porcupine Bank is a haven for the rarely glimpsed creature.

It is the second discovery of a giant squid in the area in two months. The 5.5m squid – Architeuthis – was caught by the crew of the Dingle-based Cú na Mara while trawling for prawns off the Porcupine Bank, west of Dingle. The boat also netted a six-metre specimen in May.

In the sea and alive it would be inflated and appear several times bigger than on land.

It is not as big but is in better condition than the last squid and will be preserved and put on display in the Dingle Oceanworld aquarium, said Dr Flannery.

They are extremely rare, he said and just seven have been recorded in Ireland. The very first giant squid recorded in Ireland was also landed in Dingle, when fishermen brought one ashore in 1673.

“We had three in one year in 1995, and none since. Now two turn up. I would love to see the marine institute use a remote explorer off the Porcupine to film them. I strongly suspect we have a lot of them there.”

He had had a lot of calls in May asking why the squid could not have been brought in alive or thrown back into the sea. The giant squid which lives in the ocean depths would have had no chance of surviving and would have died immediately it was raised.

Like other giants of the deep, these squid can grow to 13m long.

It was only in 2004 that a giant squid was first photographed in its natural habitat, and this was done by Japanese sperm whale watchers – sperm whales are the only predators of the giant squid.

They live in all the oceans but particularly near continental shelves.