Denpasar. Scientists from the US-based Conservation International said they may have discovered 12 new fish species in the waters off of Bali.
“Right now the fish are being identified and classified. Hopefully by December, or at the latest by January, the names can be listed and formalized [as new species],” the group’s coral fish researcher Mark van Nydeck said on Sunday.
The unidentified species cover a number of genus and families, including the eels, damsels and coral fishes in the genus of Siphamia, Heteroconger, Apogon, Parapercis, Meiacanthus, Manonichthys, Grallenia and Pseudochromis.
Partnering with the local maritime and fisheries agency, the Bali Marine Rapid Assessment Program began in January with a survey of 33 marine locations around Bali covering depths of 10 meters to 70 meters.
The group said Bali had a high level of marine biodiversity, with more than 1,000 species of fish.
In May, Conservation International discovered eight new species of coral fishes and one new species of coral. The species were believed to be endemic to the area and had not migrated from other regions.
The study found that coral reefs in Bali had been well-preserved and their condition was significantly better than that reported in studies 20 years ago.
But some species of fish are becoming increasingly hard to find, such as sharks and groupers. The finding indicates that there has been over-fishing in the area.
More than 100 sharks are captured and killed each day in Bali, the group said, particularly the long-finned shark, which is prized for its fins.
Trading in shark fin is legal in Indonesia and can fetch up to Rp 2.5 million ($280) per kilogram.