Researchers have discovered a new species of walking shark in waters off a remote island of Indonesia. The new species belong to the epaulet shark and officially named Hemiscyllium Halmahera.
In 2008, the divers first saw the shark walking on the seafloor, and now, finally, scientists have identified them as new species.
The walking sharks are specified by their method of hunting for the smaller fish and crustaceans through pectoral. They used pelvic fins and pectoral to walk on the seafloor. Islands of the west of Halmahera are believed to be the only habitat of this species of shark.
The discovered species of shark is small and thin and maximum 80 cm long in length. They are dark brown in color and have white spots on the light brown background.
The known and identified nine species of walking shark live in a very restricted range in the deep shallow water. The nine species are found exclusively around Northern Australia, New Guinea, and the satellite islands of Raja Ampat, Aru, and Halmahera in Indonesia.
Researchers from the discovery team and Conservation International and the Western Australian Museum says that the finding is vital for the outgrowth of marine conservation in the area.
Mark Erdmann, senior advisor of Conservation International of the Indonesian Marine Program, said that Indonesia is the world’s largest exporter of dried shark fins and other shark and ray products for the last thirty years, but now the country is focusing on the great economic potential of its sharks and ray products.
The government of Indonesia also agrees with the fact that discoveries like this help in creating awareness in the country. It helps to understand the importance of sharks playing the ecological role to maintain healthy fish stocks and boosting up the tremendous economic potential of marine tourism.