Squid die-off part of natural life cycle

By Lois Ann Dort    

GUYSBOROUGH – Last Wednesday a curious and troubling sight was seen along the shores of Chedabucto Bay near the communities of Guysborough and Boylston; dead squid.

Lifeless bodies of Northern Shortfin Squid were found on and near shore at both Parker Hart Rd. in Boylston and on Dorts Cove Beach at the mouth of the Salmon River, 6 km south of Guysborough.

Concerns were raised about the cause of the die-off, although no other marine life appeared to be affected.

On Friday, July 6 DFO Communications Advisor Debbie Buott-Matheson stated in an online interview, “Fishery officers have consulted with DFO Science on these observations and the information collected. Based on the information at hand, DFO Science believes that the squid mortality is part of the species' normal life cycle as they spawn and then die shortly thereafter. Fishery officers will continue to monitor the situation.”

Russell Wyeth, a biology professor at St.FX whose research focuses on neuroethology, study of the neural basis of an animal's natural behaviours, said he agrees with DFO's assessment of the situation.

Typically the squid life cycle proceeds out of sight of the everyday beachcomber; in this instance, and others like them, currents and winds brought the animals ashore where the die-off could be observed. Similar events were reported this past spring in both the Mahone Bay and Lunenburg areas.