New strange-looking deep sea fish discovered
Mon, 23 Jul 2012 6:53a.m.
By 3 News online staff
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) scientists have discovered species of fish believed to be new to science during deep sea research.
The new fish were discovered after eight fish trawls were carried out at depths between 1,910 to 2,730 metres – the deepest ever carried out by NIWA.
Scientists were working from the research vessel Tangaroa, northwest of the Graveyard Hills on the north Chatham Rise.
The trawls revealed a flabby whalefish, 3 new slickheads, a juvenile Richardson’s skate, large warty cusk-eel, new record of a white rattail, and several unidentified fishes.
At depths of around 2,000 metres, it can take around three hours to send a net to the sea floor and retrieve it again.
But NIWA fisheries scientist Peter McMillan says the effort is worth it.
“We were fortunate to get an opportunity to explore this deep area on the Chatham Rise. It’s great to know what we have, and how much.”
And Ministry for Primary Industries spokesperson Dr Pamela Mace says the research has commercial implications.
“We are interested in these results because they test whether our assumptions about the depth limits of commercial fish species are correct, and they also increase our knowledge about the inhabitants of our marine estate in this largely unexplored environment.”
Once the new fish samples are documented, NIWA gifts the rare and new-to-science fish to Te Papa to be preserved and researched.
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