Scientists from The University of Western Australia and Japan managed to film the deepest fish ever caught. They found the unknown snailfish species of the genus Pseudoliparis at a depth of 8,336m.
In August 2022, the research ship DSSV Pressure Drop undertook a two-month expedition to the deep trenches around Japan in the North Pacific Ocean. The mission’s goal was to investigate the world’s deepest fish populations in the Japan, Izu-Ogasawara, and Ryukyu trenches, each located at depths of 8,000, 9,300, and 7,300 meters, respectively.
The team deployed baited cameras in the deepest parts of the trenches.
UWA Professor Alan Jamieson, a founder of the Minderoo-UWA Deep Sea Research Centre and expedition’s chief scientist, said, “The Japanese trenches were incredible places to explore; they are so rich in life, even at the bottom.”
A few days after the filming, the team caught two fish in traps from a depth of 8,022 meters in the Japan Trench. The Pseudoliparis believe snailfish was the first fish to be gathered from a depth of more than 8,000 meters, and it was only ever spotted in 2008 at a depth of 7,703 meters.
Prof. Jamieson said, “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.”
“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.”