Giant squid live in the deep waters so they are not often seen, but fishermen in central Japan's Toyama Prefecture have captured one using their nets on Thursday morning.
What makes the catch more remarkable is that the enormous squid, which measured 5.8 meters in length including its tentacles, was alive. This deep sea animal is rarely seen alive.
It was the first time that many fishermen had seen a giant squid alive, but the creature is now the fourth giant squid to be caught by fishermen using their nets in Japan's Toyama prefecture this year.
Fishermen in the area reported that there has been an increase in giant squid catches recently. They claimed that these deep-sea creatures get closer to the surface and into their shrimp nets, which are dragged at around the 300-meter mark. Although giant squid prefer depths of 600 meters to 1,800 meters, 300 meters is the limit where they rise to.
Giant squid have been a staple in folklore for a long time but real-life specimens tend to live in deep and inhospitable waters. There also came a time when their existence was doubted.
The giant squid is a very elusive creature. It has, in fact, remained one of the few existing creatures to have never been photographed alive by the turn of the 21st century. Marine biologist Richard Ellis described the giant squid as "the most elusive image in natural history."
The first photo of a living adult giant squid was taken in January 2002 in Kyoto Prefecture in Japan.
The first footage of a live giant squid, on the other hand, was captured in 2001. This was shown on Discovery Channel's Chasing Giants: On the Trail of the Giant Squid.
In 2012, an adult giant squid was filmed in its natural habitat.
Over the past 50 years, only eight giant squid specimens have been identified, but there was suddenly a rise in giant squid catches starting in 2014.
Last year, eight were caught in Niigata Prefecture alone and several others were caught in Toyama Prefecture.
A spokesman for a local aquarium said that the newly caught giant squid will be used for research. Sadly, the creature died soon after it came to the surface.
Here is the video of Japanese fishermen capturing the live giant squid: