Snailfish sink to new lows to extend their record as the world’s deepest fish

 

Scientists recently exploring some of the world’s deepest oceanic trenches in the North Pacific have redefined the known limits that fish can survive. 


On 15 August 2022, a juvenile Pseudoliparis snailfish (species yet to be determined) was captured on film investigating a baited camera 8,336 m (27,349 ft) below the surface in the Izu-Ogasawara Trench off Japan. It claims the undisputed record as the world’s deepest fish. 



The unprecedented depth – more than double the vertical extent of Mount Fuji – is approaching what is thought to be the biological bottom line for fish. 


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Just days later, during the same expedition, two P. belyaevi snailfish were successfully retrieved from a depth of 8,022 m (26,319 ft) in the nearby Japan Trench. A watershed moment, this is the first time that any fish have been caught categorically from below 8,000 m (26,247 ft). 


Two specimens of Pseudoliparis belyaevi snailfish collected at 8,022 m in the Japan Trench, the deepest fish ever caught


The snailfish were documented by marine biologists from the University of Western Australia (UWA) and the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT), during a two-month survey on the research vessel DSV Pressure Drop (since renamed Dagon). The expedition was supported by Caladan Oceanic and Inkfish, with filmmakers from the Japanese broadcaster NHK also on board. 


GWR's Kaoru Ishikawa presents a certificate to the key institutions involved with the discovery at the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT), from left: Toshio Iseki (President of TUMSAT); on screen: Alan Jamieson (University of Western Australia’s Minderoo Deep-Sea Research Centre); Hiroshi Kitazato (School of Marine Resources and Environment, TUMSAT); Janine Pitt (Counsellor – Education and Research – Australian Embassy, Tokyo)


GWR's Kaoru Ishikawa presents a certificate to the key institutions involved with the discovery at the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT), from left: Toshio Iseki (President of TUMSAT); on screen: Alan Jamieson (University of Western Australia’s Minderoo Deep-Sea Research Centre); Hiroshi Kitazato (School of Marine Resources and Environment, TUMSAT); Janine Pitt (Counsellor – Education and Research – Australian Embassy, Tokyo)

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