5-speed listening (Antarctic Icefish - Level 5)

Researchers find world's largest fish breeding ground






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Scientists have made a surprising discovery in Antarctica – the world's largest breeding ground for fish. Researchers from a German marine research institute came across the fish while mapping the Antarctic seabed. They discovered schools of around 60 million icefish breeding in an area roughly 240 square kilometers in size. The researchers had been towing cameras to a depth of 530 metres under the sea for months. A deep-sea biologist said: "The idea that such a huge breeding area of icefish in the Weddell Sea was previously undiscovered is totally fascinating."

The researchers are hoping to establish the area as a Marine Protected Area. They say it is a unique habitat that must be preserved. They want to prevent fishing to keep the waters as pristine as possible. A recent study found that fishing trawlers in Antarctica are bringing millions of "hitch-hiking" species from all around the globe. These are threatening the area's fragile eco-systems. A researcher said: "The remoteness and difficult sea-ice conditions of this southernmost area…have protected it, but…we should be much more ambitious with marine conservation."

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