300X30580470316 e5f0f61bc5 bScientists using a dredge. All photographs Oceana

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.

30105615650 e93e8e24c8 bA deckhand directs the ROV from the surface. Deep-sea Lebanon Expedition. October 2016

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.' 

29983790624 3053033643 bCrab (Bathynectes maravigna) and striped soldier shirmps (Plesionika edwardsii). Deep-sea Lebanon Expedition. October 2016

29797490293 d42b269956 bWebbed flying squid (Ommastrephes bartramii). Deep-sea Lebanon Expedition. October 2016
30132372550 6508f9cb2e bBlackfin sorcerer (Nettastoma melanurum). Deep-sea Lebanon Expedition. October 2016

 29984790464 7060ea528a bLong-nosed skate (Dipturus oxyrinchus). Deep-sea Lebanon Expedition. October 2016

30127749900 cb63a038e6 bRedcoat squirrelfish (Sargocentron rubrum) and (Siganus sp.). Deep-sea Lebanon Expedition. October 2016


30388645766 21ba0cdc08 bMediterranean moray (Muraena helena). Deep-sea Lebanon Expedition. October 2016

30425398495 80a56cb372 bOctopus (Octopus vulgaris) in an abandoned tyre. Deep-sea Lebanon Expedition. October 2016

 30388645546 f4c03fd352 bLionfish (Pterois volitans). Deep-sea Lebanon Expedition. October 2016



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