The coelacanth is a fish that was thought to have been extinct for the last 65 million years until it showed up in 1938 near South Africa. Apparently though, it's really on the verge of extinction this time. Last year, 25 of them were accidentally caught in shallow-water nets. This is unusual because the fish are known to live at depths of 100 to 300 meters. From The Observer:
The numbers are perplexing officials of the Tanga Coastal Zone Conservation and Development Programme, which has a long-term strategy for protecting the species, with the help of Irish aid. They see a connection with trawling - especially by big Japanese vessels - near the coelacanth's habitat, as within a couple of days of trawlers casting their nets coelacanths have turned up in shallow-water nets intended for sharks.Link (Thanks, Vann Hall!)
Hassan Kolombo, a programme co-ordinator, said. 'Once we do not have trawlers, we don't get the coelacanths, it's as simple as that.' His colleague, Solomon Makoloweka, said they had been pressuring the Tanzanian government to limit trawlers' activities. He said: 'I suppose we should be grateful to these trawlers, because they have revealed this amazing and unique fish population. but we are concerned they could destroy these precious things. We want the government to limit their activity and to help fund a proper research programme so that we can learn more about the coelacanths and protect them.'
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.