London: Scientists have discovered a new species of eelpout fish off the Kermadec Islands, north-east of New Zealand.
The discovery was made by scientists from the University of Aberdeen, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), and Te Papa returning from a two-week survey around the 10-km deep Kermadec Trench.
They took over 6500 photographs, and caught about 100 fish.
They also discovered new records of a rattail fish that hasn`t previously been caught in the southwest Pacific, and another rattail that hasn`t been caught in New Zealand waters for over 100 years and a large deep sea cusk eel.
One of the species of rattail found by the scientists, called the Cosmopolitan Rattail, was first caught off New Zealand by the HMS Challenger in a global scientific expedition in the 1870s.
Large numbers of amphipods, like marine sand-hoppers, were also sampled to continue work previously carried out by the team in the Kermadec Trench.
The scientists onboard RV Kaharoa used landers, with cameras attached that free-fall to the seafloor, as well as baited fish traps to attract animals.
"The amount of data recovered during the survey was considerable. A lot can be learnt and achieved by using fairly basic equipment in the deep sea," voyage leader, Dr Alan Jamieson, from the University of Aberdeen said.
"The results from this deep exploration are giving us a much better understanding of biodiversity in the deep sea around New Zealand, and enable us to better assess potential risks to the ecosystem from future climate change and even human activities which may include seabed mining," NIWA Principal Scientist Dr Malcolm Clark said in a statement.
The new specimens will be held at the National Fish Collection at the Museum of New Zealand/Te Papa Tongarewa.