The world’s largest and most diverse group of fish have been found in a remote fishing area in the Pacific Ocean, according to researchers.
The researchers say that they have discovered an incredible diversity of marine animals living on the reef off the west coast of Australia, including the elusive bluefin tuna, which can weigh up to 1,000 pounds and is found only off the northern coast of Tasmania.
Tuna are considered the largest fish in the world, but they are actually more closely related to the tuna that live in the oceans of the Pacific, the researchers say.
“It is a great news for our community,” Dr. Paul Pyle, a professor of fish ecology at the University of New South Wales, told ABC News.
“We now have a fish that is a world-famous and well-known fish, and we know that there is an incredible abundance of them, and that we can do something about that.”
“We now understand that they are very abundant in the deep ocean,” he said.
Scientists have been searching for bluefin for years, but it was only recently that they finally found one in the middle of the sea, in the remote northern part of the Great Barrier Reef, which spans nearly 3,000 square miles.
This discovery, along with the finding of another tuna, may help scientists understand what’s happening to the ocean as a whole, Dr. Pyle said.
“The bluefin have been around for a long time, and they are still a very important food source for many species,” he told ABC news.
“We know that they may be on the brink of extinction, but we also know that we have to do something.”
Scientists believe that they’ve been overfished by fishing fleets, and have been forced to reduce the size of their fish populations, which have dwindled in the past few decades.
“This finding is an important one in understanding what is happening to these fish and the ecosystem that they inhabit,” Dr Pyle told ABC.
The discovery is important, because bluefin can eat up to 40 percent of the fish stocks that live on the Great Australian Bight.
“It’s a great indication that there are areas of the world where there is a lot of abundance of fish and it’s a problem that is largely under-invested,” he added.
This story has been updated to include new information on the finding.