May 17 2021 Fishermen in Madagascar have discovered a “four-legged fossil fish” crankfish while catching sharks in the western Indian Ocean off the coast of the country, the Daily Star reported Thursday. The species dates back 420 million years and is thought to have been extinct as early as 1938.
Part of the reason for their re-emergence, the report says, is the use of gillnets by fishermen in shark hunting. Fishermen keep hunting sharks for shark fins and oil, and the deep-sea nets they use can reach fishing areas about 328 to 429 feet below the surface. A carnivorous fish, it can live up to 60 years, grow to 6.5 feet tall and weigh about 198 pounds.
Scientists in the country believe that this new type of shark-fishing gillnet is very dangerous for the cobwebs. Andrew Cook says he and other researchers are alarmed by the increasing number of accidental captures of the creature. There is no doubt that large-scale fishing gillnets are now the greatest threat to the survival of Madagascar’s cobwebs.