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Japanese team films fish at deepest-ever depth in Mariana Trench

JIJI

A government-affiliated institution said Thursday it filmed a snailfish in the Mariana Trench at a depth of 8,178 meters — the deepest point ever for capturing a fish on video.

The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (Jamstec), said the filming was jointly carried out with NHK on May 18.

The video was taken with 4K ultrahigh-resolution cameras mounted on an unmanned hadal lander operated by Kairei, the agency’s deep-sea research vessel.

In April, the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced it had filmed a fish at a depth of 8,152 meters in the same trench near Guam. “We’ve set a world record for filming a fish at an accurately measured depth,” senior Jamstec researcher Kazumasa Oguri said.

“We hope we can shed more light on the deep-sea ecology and the depth limit for fish to inhabit,” Oguri said.

According to the agency, after the observation equipment was placed on the northern slope of the trench, the cameras caught amphipods consuming mackerel placed on the lander as bait to attract deep-ocean creatures.

The type of snailfish filmed, possibly a Mariana snailfish, is believed to visit the trench to feed on amphipods. In footage shot on a different day at a depth of 7,498 meters, the same type of snailfish was observed eating the amphipods.

According to recent studies, the hypothetical depth limit for fish habitation is 8,200 meters because they are unable to control osmotic pressure below that level.