Scientists hoping to confirm rare handfish species spotted during CSIRO marine survey

small white handfish at bottom of ocean

A species of fish that hasn’t been seen in more than two decades has been spotted in deep waters near Flinders Island. 

The discovery was made during a month-long CSIRO voyage that is looking at how climate change has affected the marine environment of south-east Australia.

“It’s a really exciting find because this is only the third time that we’ve seen this particular species,” said research technician Carlie Devine.

The scientists believe the tiny critter, spotted sitting on the edge of a canyon at a depth of about 292 metres, is a narrowbody handfish. The last time one was sighted was in 1996 — when the Macarena was top of the charts and Gen Z had yet to be born.

Little is known about the narrowbody handfish, but it is found in much deeper waters than the spotted handfish, which is most commonly found at depths between five and 10 metres.

Read more about this amazing find and what it could mean here on the ABC.