Rare prehistoric species of shark caught by Taitung fishermen

07/18/2022 06:39 PM
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CNA photo July 18, 2022
CNA photo July 18, 2022

Taipei, July 18 (CNA) A rare bluntnose sixgill shark, a species that is believed to have been on Earth since before the dinosaurs, was caught by Taiwanese fishermen from Taitung County on Sunday.

The shark is a rare sight as it generally lives at a depth of 200-1,000 meters below sea level, Wu Jui-hsien (吳瑞賢), a research assistant at the East Coast Marine Biology Center of the government-run Fisheries Research Institute, told CNA.

Although most modern shark species have evolved to have five gills, the bluntnose shark still has six as their ancient ancestors, Wu explained.

According to Wu, the 420-kilogram fish was caught in the Pacific Ocean by a Taitung-based fishing boat and brought to Xingang fishing harbor in the eastern Taiwan county on Sunday.

CNA photo July 18, 2022
CNA photo July 18, 2022

Chen Chin-tai (陳錦泰), who manages the fishermen's market at Xingang, said the catch by the vessel "Chin Yung Li" (金永利) measured about 395 centimeters long and would be auctioned off Monday.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the bluntnose sixgill shark is listed as "near threatened" because its longevity and popularity as a sport fish make it vulnerable to exploitation.

Based on information posted on the Florida Museum's website, the bluntnose sixgill shark closely resembles fossil forms dating from approximately 200 million years ago.

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(By Lee Shien-feng and Ko Lin)


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