OCEANA SURVEY OFF LEBANON
A deep sea survey off Lebanon in the eastern Mediterranean discovered a complex system of canyons and more than 200 species of fish - many never seen in the area before.
The survey, which used ROVs to explore down to 1,000m, is the first step in creating marine protection zones and was carried out by local scientists supported by Oceana.
The team found a belt of coral gardens at 80m with a wide range of sponges. The ROV also spotted a longnosed skate (Dipturus oxyrinchus) normally resident in Arctic waters and seen for the first time in the Levantine Sea and a rare lantern shark (Etmopterus pusillus). The invasive lionfish was also recorded.
'Lebanon is setting an excellent example for marine conservation in the south-eastern Mediterranean, with its commitment to studying and protecting its deep-sea marine life,' said Lasse Gustavsson, executive director for Oceana in Europe. 'By working together, the Lebanese government, local scientists, and international organisations have made a tremendous advance towards the protection of this vulnerable environment. We ask other countries to follow their lead.'