Image: Mozambique Seabream, Wattsia mossambica
A 366 mm SL Mozambique Seabream caught on hook and line at a depth around 170 m, offshore waters near Ballina, New South Wales, 06 July 2010.
- Sascha Schulz
- © Australian Museum
The Mozambique Seabream occurs off east Africa, across the northern Indian Ocean and through South-East Asia, north to Japan and south to northern Australia. The fish in the image was collected well south of its recognised distribution. It was brought to the Australian Museum by Mr Sascha Schulz on 11 February 2011 and is now registered in the Ichthyology Collection (AMS I.45621-001). Thank you to Sascha and Matt (see below) for their considerable time and effort spent obtaining this valuable specimen.
The story behind the fish as told by Sascha - "One afternoon I received a text message from a friend of mine, Matt Poulton, who was passing on a photo taken on a mobile phone of a strange looking fish. The fish had been caught by a commercial fisherman off Ballina in northern NSW. The fisherman had never caught this species before and had no idea what it was. It took me several days to work out the identity from the tiny image on my phone.
After I checked the AMS holdings (1 specimen only), and realised the rarity of the species, I asked if the fish was available but was told it had already been sold.
A day later I received a phone call from Matt and was told the fish had been rescued and was now safely in a deep freeze awaiting collection. A few months later it travelled to Sydney in Matt's esky and eventually to the AMS ichthyology section.
What this episode demonstrates, I think, is the amount of support commercial and recreational fishermen are willing to put behind research institutions like AMS, including spending their own money to deliver specimens."