A new species of fish has been discovered in six mile deep waters off the coast of New Zealand.
Previously unknown to science, the new species of eelpout was discovered during a seven day exploration of one of the deepest areas of the Pacific Ocean. The search yielded an abundance of rare specimens and roughly 6,500 photographs.
National Geographic writes that the new eelpout, a species described as long, eel-like fish, was discovered in waters near the Kermadec Trench. One of the deepest points on Earth, the trench is nearly 33,000 feet below the Pacific Ocean surface.
The exploration of ocean life at such deep levels is a difficult endeavor. The team employed Oceanlab technology to drop baited fish traps and cameras to the seafloor in order to conduct their research.
The new species of eelpout was discovered by The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, University of Aberdeen’s Oceanlab, and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
Voyage leader Dr. Alan Jamieson spoke about the expedition’s impact in a February 8 press release:
“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. The technological challenges of the past are being overcome, and 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.”
The new species of fish and other specimens will be held at the National Fish Collection at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.