Global Fish Crisis | Still Waters, National Geographic Magazine: Coelacanths | Bridge the Gap to First Mammals to Walk on Land

Coelacanth, Stored in Freezer, Tanzania

Sea Products moves octopus, squid, and cuttlefish to Europe, mostly Italy and Greece.  They have a coelacanth in their freezer being held for a museum. Coelacanths are the fossil fish that bridge the gap between fish and the mammals that left the sea to walk on land.  You can see their fins starting to become legs. There is speculation that coelacanths, long thought to be extinct, started showing up in Tanzania because their habitat was hammered by over fishing.

70 million years old, scientists previously considered the fish long extinct. In 1938, however, a fishing trawler brought up a live specimen. Since then more than 100 living coelacanths, remarkably unchanged since the Cretaceous period, have been caught off the coast of South Africa.

Biologists estimate that only 200 to 500 coelacanths remain in the western part of their range (the status of the eastern population is not yet known), and concern for the coelacanth’s continued survival is mounting. The coelacanth is classified as vulnerable by the World Conservation Union (also known as the IUCN), an international organization that maintains a global list of vulnerable and endangered species called the Red List. A vulnerable classification means that the species faces a high risk of extinction in the near future.

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