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New fish species traced in Bay of Bengal

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New fish species traced in Bay of Bengal


Publication Date: 1 April, 2017

Media: The Independent

Original URLNew fish species traced in Bay of Bengal

E-paper  URL: New fish species traced in Bay of Bengal

Researchers have discovered a fish species on the shelf sea of Bangladesh in the Bay of Bengal that was not known to exist in this sea earlier. The scientific name of this newly reported fish is Neoepinnula orientalis, commonly known as sackfish. It belongs to the snake mackerel group of fishes.
Researchers of RV Meen Sandhani, the modern survey and research vessel operated by the department of fisheries, detected the fish in Bangladesh for the first time on March 17.

“The fish was found in marine waters about 200 metres deep in the Bay of Bengal. The fish has not been seen in Bangladesh earlier. If fishermen did net it before, they probably did not pay much attention,” disclosed Sayedur Rahman Chowdhury, one of the cruise leaders of the RV Meen Sandhani and a professor of the Institute of Marine Sciences and Fisheries of Chittagong University. “Several specimens of the fish that we found were between three and four inches long, although the fish has been reported to grow as much as 12 inches from elsewhere,” he said. “This fish is considered an important link in the food chain for larger commercial fishes in the sea, which would rely on smaller fishes like this as their food.” He added, “Though this fish may not bear immediate commercial prospects, it is, therefore, definitely an important component of the ecosystem.”

“The fish is known to inhabit a large marine area in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, but this has probably been found and identified for the first time in Bangladesh.

Fish taxonomist Peter Psomadakis of the FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy, has helped us identify the fish correctly. If we were to derive a Bangla name from its English counterpart, we could call it ‘tholey machh’, though it has not been given any such name yet,” explained Rahman.

The researchers started a series of surveys with RV Meen Sandhani to assess the stock of marine fisheries and other fishing resources in the Bay of Bengal under the ‘Bangladesh Marine Fisheries Capacity Building Project’ in December last year. Bangladesh brought the ship from Malaysia to conduct the survey. The ship reached Chittagong on June 9 last year. The ship has already completed a number of shrimp surveys. Last week, the ship went several hundred kilometres into the sea from the coast and found the new species of fish there. “In the cruises conducted so far, we have found some species of crabs and other marine animals, which we believe have not been reported earlier. We are researching on it,” added Rahman. There is a total of 475 fish species, including 36 species of shrimp, in the Bay of Bengal, noted a survey conducted in the 1980s. It also said there was a stock of 1,88,000 tonnes of demersal fish in the Bay and between 60,000 to 120,000 tonnes of pelagic fish.

Shamsuddin Illius
Shamsuddin Illius is a print and online media journalist. He has been working in the field (fulltime) of journalism since 2010. He is very much passionate about journalism since his early age. Currently he is the Bureau Chief-Chittagong at The Business Standard.

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