The Sea of Cortez
The Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, is a unique corner of the Pacific Ocean. This remarkable young sea is thought to be around five million years old and home to nearly 900 species of fish and the widest variety of whales and dolphins found anywhere on Earth. Some of the greatest changes threatening the world's oceans today can be seen in this stretch of water.
Humboldt squid, Loreto
Before 1950 there were no reports of Humboldt squid in the Sea of Cortez. Today however it is estimated that there are over 20 million of these fearsome predators in these waters. One of the reasons they are thought to be thriving is the high volume of fishing taking place in this area which has removed a large number of the top predators, such as sharks, from the food chain.
These creatures grow up to 2.5m long and can be cannibalistic when one of their own is caught on a fishing line or net. They hunt in large packs and there is a theory that suggests they communicate by rapidly changing the colour of their skin.
|Importance:||The Humboldt squid's increasing numbers demonstrate how easily the balance of marine life can be affected.|
|Dive category:||A dangerous dive that should only be attempted by experienced dive teams. It requires safety lines as it is rumoured that divers have been dragged down by several squid.|
|Access:||Difficult for any average diver. Scientists draw squid up from the deep by fishing lures and study them at night, a time when squid swim at more shallow depths.|