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NZ scientists find new Kermadec species

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/02/2017

An expedition to the Kermadec Islands has led to the discovery of many species either new to science or not previously found in the area, voyage leader Malcolm Clark says.

The 20-day journey, aboard Niwa's research vessel Tangaroa, brought together scientific expertise from seven New Zealand organisations.

Dr Clark says the survey of the region, about 800km north-east of New Zealand, recorded 236 fish species.

Three were likely new to science, 60 were new records for the region and 20 were new to New Zealand's exclusive economic zone.

More than 250 invertebrate species were also provisionally identified, although many will be sent to experts in New Zealand and internationally for formal identification.

Dr Clark says it is likely many will be new species to science.

He says the pristine nature of Kermadecs, where there is no fishing, meant researchers could establish a baseline to compare with future surveys as ocean conditions change.

As part of the voyage, a rare hawksbill turtle that had washed up in New Zealand and been rehabilitated at Kelly Tarlton's aquarium in Auckland was released off Raoul Island, its natural home.

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