Taiwanese Fishing Boat Picks Up Extremely Rare Breed Of Shark
Five viper dogfish were caught off the coast of Taitung in Taiwan by the Taiwanese Fisheries Research Institute earlier this week. The organization had been conducting a survey on local fish when they came across this extraordinarily rare and unusual haul.
Sadly, all except one were dead by the time they’d been pulled up out of the ocean. The lone survivor died the following day, but wildlife experts hope all five bodies can be used to find out more about this little-studied, little-understood fish.
The viper dogfish – which is actually a breed of shark – is so extremely shy and evasive (despite its appearance) that it bumbled along undisturbed by human activity for centuries. It was not discovered until 1986 and didn’t receive official recognition until four years after that.
The major reason for this is that they lurk deep underwater in the Pacific Ocean around the coasts of Hawaii, Japan, and Taiwan. This particular batch was found at depths of 350 meters (1,148 feet), according to local news reports.
As far as we know, they live in waters 270 to 360 meters (890 to 1,180 feet) below sea level, but experts reckon their habitat could go even deeper than that. This is because the specimens we come across are found during night-time fishing expeditions and it is likely that viper dogfish, like many deep-sea animals, migrate vertically to feed when the sun goes down.