Scientists have captured footage of the deepest fish ever seen, setting a new record with the ‘ghostly’ snailfish filmed at 8,336 metres in the Izu-Ogasawara Trench off Japan’s coast. The previous record was a snailfish recorded at 8,178 metres in the Pacific Mariana Trench two years ago. The discovery was made during a two-month expedition by the Minderoo-UWA Deep Sea Research Centre in cooperation with the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology. The expedition also studied the marine populations in the Ryukyu trench east of the Ryukyu Islands. Scientists believe the discovery could be the deepest depth any fish can survive.
The abundance of deep snailfish around Japan was unexpected and other nearby trenches have found them in increasingly fewer numbers beyond 8,000m, said Professor Alan Jamieson, founder of the Minderoo-UWA Deep Sea Research Centre. Although the fish were not captured to be identified, snailfish at 8,022 metres were recorded, another record. There are more than 300 species of snailfish in oceans around the world, most living in shallow waters with adaptations for deep-sea pressures such as gelatinous bodies. The research is part of a 10-year study on the world’s deepest fish populations.