World's 'deepest fish' found in Marianas Trench

By Richelle Agpoon-Cabang - Marianas Variety — Dec 22 2014

THE snailfish found at a depth of 26,722 feet in the Marianas Trench is believed to be the world's deepest fish, according to the blogsite of researchers who recently went on a 30-day expedition to the Marianas Trench.

The Falkor Expedition involves a team of researchers led by Woods Hole Oceanographic's Tim Shank, chief scientists Jeff Drazen from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Patricia Fryer, a geologist also from UH.

They used the Hadal Lander, the United Kingdom's deepest diving vehicle, to record more than 100 hours of footage.

The expedition took place from Nov. 9 to Dec. 9 2014.

In a blog entry dated Dec. 6, 2014, the team said: "We have now discovered the Mariana Trench also has snailfish, in high densities at 7000 to 7500 m, and filmed down to 8075 m. However there are very few there, and we have seen no fish at deeper sites..."

Then a snailfish was found at a depth of 26,722 feet. It had wing-like fins and an eel-like tail and was discovered gliding deep in the western Pacific Ocean, beating the previous record by 500 feet.

The expedition aimed to explore large swaths of the world's deepest trenches to get a more complete view of what is there.

Division of Fish and Wildlife Fisheries Research Section Supervisor Todd Miller, who is a close friend of Draizen, said the expedition is a gateway for more research and expeditions in the Marianas Trench.

"The exploration will definitely put the CNMI on the world scientific map for future research expeditions. The depths are so great, and very little is known of the geological and biological characteristics of the trench — one could compare expeditions to such depths as something like the expedition of a Mars rover."

For more information, go to http://www.schmidtocean.org/story/show/3494/.