27 Oct 2010

Scientists trawl ocean depths for rare fish

10:04 pm on 27 October 2010

Scientists have recovered more than a dozen rare species of fish from the bottom of the South Pacific Ocean.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research found the species when it trawled down almost 2km to the Chatham Rise, east of New Zealand.

NIWA fisheries scientist Peter McMillan says one of the specimens found was a lantern shark, which has been caught before but is yet to be scientifically classified.

The fish is believed to have a luminescent under surface, which lights up in the deep water.

He says the team also caught a Black Lizardfish, which has sharp teeth and big eyes.

He believes the species is a type of tripod fish, so named because they prop themselves on the seafloor using their tail and two pelvic fins.

Fifteen to 20 species of rare fish were recovered on the trip, and have been given to the national museum, Te Papa.