Posted by stephen clark on October 07, 2005 at 20:53:34:|
New shark species found in Seychelles Two new shark species unknown to science have been discovered in Seychelles. The two species of deep-sea sharks were caught by Israeli scientists in the Amirantes in December 1998, but were only recently confirmed as new discoveries in the Israel Journal of Zoology. The research vessel RV Sea Surveyor caught the sharks at a depth of 1,000 metres off Alphonse island during an expedition by the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences of Elat, Israel, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment. One of the sharks is of the Squalidae family, commonly known as dogfish sharks. It has been named Squalus lalannei by its discoverers in recognition of the assistance the researchers received from the then principal secretary for environment, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne. The other shark is of the Centrophoridae family, also known as dogfish but also as gulper sharks. It has been named Centrophorus seychellorum in honour of the Seychellois people whom the researchers described as the "helpful and always smiling inhabitants of the paradise island of the Republic of Seychelles." The two species took several years to confirm as they first had to be compared to all other known sharks of the same families. This included matching details against records in scientific institutions as far as Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Museum of Natural History in Paris. The results were then reviewed by other experts before being confirmed as species that had until now been unknown to science. These types of sharks, which are found at depths of up to 2,000 metres, are common in all oceans and are caught commercially, according to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. "It is therefore highly probable the new species have been caught by Seychellois fishermen without them knowing the sharks were unknown to science," said a statement from the ministry. "This further stresses the importance of fishermen properly filling in the new shark monitoring log-sheet introduced by the Seychelles Fishing Authority in August last year," the statement read. "The log-sheet is aimed at assessing the stocks of sharks fished locally and identifying the various species caught." The confirmation of the two new species of sharks follows the discovery of a few freshwater fish, Parioglossus multiradiatus, also unique to Seychelles, with the help of French scientists last year.