Coelacanths Surfacing: Zanzibar Fishermen Catch Dino-Fish
Off the coast of Tanzania, fisherman have landed a coelacanth, just the latest in a string of ever-more-frequent encounters with these holdouts of oceans past.
Fishermen in Zanzibar have caught a coelacanth, an ancient fish once thought to have become extinct when it disappeared from fossil records 80 million years ago, an official said on Sunday.
Researcher Nariman Jidawi of Zanzibar's Institute of Marine Science said the fish was caught off the tropical island's northern tip.
"The fishermen informed us they had caught this strange fish and we quickly rushed to find it was a coelacanth," he told Reuters, adding that it weighed 27 kg (60 lb) and was 1.34 meters long.
The coelacanth, known from fossil records dating back more than 360 million years, was believed to have become extinct some 80 million years ago until one was caught off the eastern coast of South Africa in 1938 -- a major zoological find.
Whilst you and I read stories like this and think, "Cool! Deep sea dino-fish!", scientists are puzzling out why these fish from the furthest fathoms are seeking shallower waters.
Tony Ribbink, Sustainable Seas Trust, South Africa, discussed the African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme, which he said is a New Partnership for Africa’s Development marine project and explained that the Programme is a collaborative conservation project between nine African countries.
Margaret Tivey, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, US, stressed the need for research on how deep sea hydrothermal vent organisms adapt to the high pressure, low light, little to no oxygen and high toxicity associated with vent fields. Tivey outlined guidelines for conducting scientific research to prevent, inter aliaa, deleterious impacts on the sustainability of populations of vent organisms.