The Trapping Zone: An oasis of oceanic life observed at 500 metres

The Nekton Mission has discovered a new ecosystem with oceanic life at 500 metres underwater.

The report on the findings of the marine study conducted by the Nekton Mission and the Maldives government was released on Monday. The area, which was identified at a depth of 500 meters, is currently called “The Trapping Zone”.

Video footage from Nekton, biological samples and sonar mapping show that small fish, food for larger marine life, are trapped in the newly discovered area.

The tiny fish travel from the deep to surface every night, and swim back to the deep at dawn. This is the largest night migration in the world, called “vertical migration”.

During the migration, the small fish get trapped in the 500-metre depth or “trapping zone”, and become food for sharks and other larger fish.

Alex Rogers, Nekton scientist said the fish trapped in the zone become prey to some larger pelagic fish,  some of which are unknown to Maldives’ waters, and are expensive in the market. “So this is likely to be an opportunity to introduce a new type of fishery,” Alex said.

The Nekton Maldives Mission set out on September 4 and spent 34 days at sea. The mission completed the first systematic survey and sample of Maldivian waters from the surface to 1,000 meters depth. Almost nothing was known about what existed beneath 30 meters.

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