News

Australia scientists pluck rare handfish from ocean due to climate risk

By AFP

January 31, 2024 12:25 PM


Representational image

Twitter Share Facebook Share WhatsApp Share

Scientists have collected 25 extremely rare red handfish from the ocean off Australia, hoping to protect the struggling species from warming seas, human-caused habitat changes and ravenous urchins.

Only about 100 red handfish -- which have the appearance of a crimson and brown goldfish with stubby arms and webbed hands -- are left in the wild, living in a small section of reef off southeast Tasmania.

About eight centimetres (three inches) long, they "walk" along the sea floor on their pectoral and pelvic fins rather than swimming.

But overgrazing urchins, run-off from urban areas, disturbances from boats and rising sea temperatures have resulted in "severe habitat loss and degradation", according to the University of Tasmania's Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies.

Scientists at the institute recently made the difficult and risky decision to take dozens of the fish out of the wild for safekeeping.

"This summer has already well exceeded previous temperature maximums," said marine scientist Jemina Stuart-Smith.

"We can only assume that this additional stressor will impact the already fragile population," she said.

On Wednesday, scientists said the 25 specimens were doing well in their temporary aquarium homes and were being closely monitored for stress or ill health.

"We have highly experienced staff looking after the fish seven days a week, and a 24-hour call-out roster," said the institute's Andrew Trotter.

"We believe they are quite safe with us -- but there is certainly a feeling of heightened responsibility among our team, given how small the wild population is."

Trotter and his colleagues are hoping to return the fish to their natural habitat when temperatures drop with the onset of the austral winter in June.

Sea temperatures off Australia have been increasing steadily since records began at the beginning of the 1900s.

Experts believe the change is being fuelled by the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.


AFP


Most Read

  1. Public Holiday announced in Lahore tomorrow Public Holiday announced in Lahore tomorrow
  2. Nazish Jahangir to hit any marriage proposal from Babar Azam out of the ground Nazish Jahangir to hit any marriage proposal from Babar Azam out of the ground
  3. Iranian First Lady visits Numl Iranian First Lady visits Numl
  4. Madiha Rizvi ties the knot again Madiha Rizvi ties the knot again
  5. Pakistan, Iran sign raft of accords to bolster bilateral cooperation Pakistan, Iran sign raft of accords to bolster bilateral cooperation
  6. Zara Noor Abbas inspired by Rani Mukerji Zara Noor Abbas inspired by Rani Mukerji

Opinion

  1. Islamabad becoming the hub of international diplomacy
    Islamabad becoming the hub of international diplomacy

    By Salim Bokhari

  2. Insights into the Pakistan Stock Exchange's Recent Record High Triumph
    Insights into the Pakistan Stock Exchange's Recent Record High Triumph

    By Zulfiqar Ali Mir

  3. IMEC to sabotage CPEC
    IMEC to sabotage CPEC

    By Dr Asif Channer

  4. 1947 TO FORM 47
    1947 TO FORM 47

    By Dr Asif Channer

  5. Beijing wants to further highlight industrial sector in its country and take scientific innovation to new heights....
    Beijing wants to further highlight industrial sector in its country and take scientific innovation to new heights....

    By Ali Ramay

  6. Global race: China will reduce its unnecessary expenses
    Global race: China will reduce its unnecessary expenses

    By Ali Ramay