According to news blurbs on Yahoo!News and LiveScience, approximately 20 new species of sharks and rays have been found in Indonesian waters. Rather than scouring every inch of ocean in hopes of finding new specimens, the researchers visited fish markets over 5 years, such markets often getting to the fish before scientists can. Indeed, the past month has produced headlines featuring colossal squid, goblin and frilled sharks, and a slew of new critters from Antarctic seas, so it’s definitely been an exciting time for all those interested in marine biology. I have to wonder, however, if more deep sea species are being caught as a result of environmental changes. As for the new sharks and rays, even though they are newly discovered they may already be in deep trouble, Indonesia being hard on fish of all types and notoriously difficult to regulate when it comes to anti-poaching and conservation measures. Hopefully scientists will have a change to observe the animals in their own habitat, rather than adding a brand new species to the endangered or extinct list.
And it’s not even Shark Week!28 02 2007