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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007, 08:21 GMT
NZ fishermen land colossal squid
The squid took about two hours to land

New Zealand fishermen have caught what is expected to be a world-record-breaking colossal squid.

Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said the squid, weighing an estimated 450kg (990lb),took two hours to land in Antarctic waters.

Local news said the Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni was about 10m (33ft) long, and was the first adult colossal squid landed intact.

One expert said calamari rings made from it would be like tractor tyres.

"I can assure you that this is going to draw phenomenal interest. It is truly amazing," Steve O'Shea from Auckland's University of Technology told local media.

NZ fisherman with colossal squid - 22/2/07
The squid could be the largest ever found

Colossal squid, which are found deep in Antarctic waters, are thought to be about the same length as giant squid (Architeutis dux) but are much heavier.

The species was first identified in 1925, but very few specimens have been found.

The first specimen recovered intact, a 150kg (330lb) immature female, was caught on the surface in the Ross Sea near the Antarctic coast in April 2003.

'Nearly dead'

Mr Anderton said the fishermen had been fishing for Patagonian toothfish in deep Antarctic waters when the squid - which was eating a toothfish - was caught.

Infographic, BBC

"The squid was almost dead when it reached the surface, and the careful work of the crew was paramount in getting this specimen aboard in good condition," he said.

The squid was frozen in the ship's hull and brought back to New Zealand for scientific examination.

"The colossal squid has just arrived in New Zealand and it is likely that it is the first intact adult male colossal squid to ever be successfully landed," Mr Anderton said.

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