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New species of fish discovered near Kermadec Islands

Monday 4 Feb 2013 3:28 p.m.

A new species of an eel-like fish has been discovered and filmed off the Kermadec Islands.  

Footage of a new eelpout species - which has been named ‘Zoarcidae’ - was captured during a scientific voyage around the 10-km deep Kermadec Trench, north-east of New Zealand.

A group of scientists from NIWA, Te Papa and the University of Aberdeen sent baited sea floor ‘landers’ equipped with built-in cameras to around 6 km deep where they first found the fish.

The group also discovered new records of two different types of rattail fish, one of which hasn’t been seen in New Zealand waters for 100 years, and a large deep-sea cusk eel.

The trench is one of the deepest places on earth.

Voyage Leader Alan Jamieson, from the University of Aberdeen, says basic equipment was used to make the discoveries.

“A voyage such as this is testament to how feasible scientific research in the deep sea has become. It is no longer the inaccessible, out of reach, part of the world it once was." 

He says the technological challenges of the past no longer exist. 

"They shouldn’t limit our responsibility to learn about and understand the deep sea to help ensure the long term health of the deep oceans, one of the largest environments on earth,” he says.

Samples gathered from the trip will be taken to Te Papa in Wellington.

The new fish:

 

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