World's deepest fish filmed off Japan

A team of researchers from The University of Western Australia and Japan breaks a new record after finding world's deepest fish at a depth of more than 8km underwater.

Written by Oceanographic Staff
Photographs by Minderoo-UWA Deep Sea Research Centre

A collaborative team of scientists from The University of Western Australia and the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology managed to film a fish at an overall depth of 8,336m which makes it the deepest fish ever to be captured on film. The footage which was filmed in September 2022 on a two-month expedition to the deep trenches around Japan in the north Pacific Ocean was shared yesterday.

The mission was to explore the Japan, Izu-Ogasawara and Ryukyu trenches at 8,000m, 9,300m and 7,300m deep respectively as part of a ten-year study into the deepest fish populations in the world, according to The University of Western Australia.

At 8,336m, an unmanned submersible that had a baited camera attached to it managed to capture an unknown snailfish species of the genus Pseudoliparis in the Izu-Ogasawara trench. Researchers believe that this fish might be at the maximum depth any fish can survive. The previous deepest fish was observed at 8,178m.

Following the filming of the species, researches managed to catch two other snailfish, of the species Pseudoliparis belyaevi, in traps the Japan trench from a depth of 8,022 metres. These were the first fish to be collected from depths greater than 8,000m and have only ever been seen at a depth of 7,703m in 2008.

Alan Jamieson, professor at The University of Western Australia, founder of the Minderoo-UWA Deep Sea Research Centre and chief scientist of the expedition explained: “The Japanese trenches were incredible places to explore; they are so rich in life, even all the way at the bottom.”

“We have spent over 15 years researching these deep snailfish; there is so much more to them than simply the depth, but the maximum depth they can survive is truly astonishing.”

He added: “In other trenches such as the Mariana Trench, we were finding them at increasingly deeper depths just creeping over that 8,000m mark in fewer and fewer numbers, but around Japan they are really quite abundant.”

“The real take-home message for me, is not necessarily that they are living at 8,336m but rather we have enough information on this environment to have predicted that these trenches would be where the deepest fish would be, in fact until this expedition, no one had ever seen nor collected a single fish from this entire trench.”

Watch the moment the deepest ever fish was caught on camera here.

For more from our Ocean Newsroom, click here


Written by Oceanographic Staff
Photographs by Minderoo-UWA Deep Sea Research Centre

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