To explore these questions, The Parallel Effect will hold a virtual vigil for the extinct marine creature. Found in just a few counties in the Little Tennessee River system along the Tennessee-North Carolina border, the species was considered extinct until the early 1980s when biologists happened upon a handful—which they did not pick up by hand or they would have gotten stung. Required fields are marked *, A digital vigil for the Smooth Handfish will turn a eulogy for an extinct marine creature into a deeper reflection. How much suffering should and indeed, can we carry? Image by Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. The spotted handfish is the most common of all the handfish species. In 1802, when French naturalist François Péron slipped a small, chunky Australian fish into a jar of preservative, little did he suspect that his unassuming prize would be the only member of its species ever known to science. The smooth handfish (. They will provide a range of perspectives on the work’s themes through a variety of mediums, including music, performance,  video essays and spoken word. The Smooth Handfish, Sympterichthys unipennis, has officially been declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the first marine Fish to … The result has yielded a fascinating spectrum of issues and perspectives that transcend the extinction of a Tasmanian fish and enable us to gaze into a collective mirror where all of us, no matter where in the world we are, can come together to experience and reflect upon the way we lose, grieve and survive in an increasingly complex, and often far too difficult, world. Your email address will not be published. Handfish are a family of 14 unusual bottom-dwelling species related to deep-sea anglerfish. He emphasises that marine plants and invertebrates might also be in more trouble than records such as the Red List suggest. A small population, restricted distribution and vulnerable life cycle are key. This strange and spiny bottom-dweller made history with its passing. They are quite a small species,only seven or eight centimeters in length. “The smooth handfish must have been relatively common to be among the first species collected on the continent,” says Prof Graham Edgar, a marine biologist at the University of Tasmania, whose work contributed to the IUCN listing. The species was described after a single specimen was collected on an expedition to Australia in 1802. He points to more thoroughly researched marine life such as corals, sharks and groupers. The catastrophic biodiversity loss witnessed by this region was revealed by comparing core samples taken from these dredging sites. “That’s the habitat that the soft sediment species of handfish would have thrived in, but it’s gone now,” Lynch says. Because it was a marine species there’s always been that element of doubt,” Edgar says. A species of handfish called Sympterichthys unipennis has been declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. As warm water moves south, species that require cold, shallow water are losing habitat. Its habitat has been scoured for any signs of the elusive fish for years, but none surfaced. ‘We live in very difficult times, in the midst of multiple crises – dealing with a variety of profound losses, every day. A digital vigil for the Smooth Handfish will turn a eulogy for an extinct marine creature into a deeper reflection  of life and loss in a world in crisis. Together, their work will provide a space where audiences can digitally congregate to contemplate loss, grief, the parameters of care, the interconnectedness of conservation and radical hope – transcending together in an act they call ‘collaborative survival’. In March 2020, the smooth handfish (Sympterichthys unipennis) was declared extinct in the IUCN Red List. Handfish rarely swim, so they are locally highly vulnerable to disturbance. The relatives of the smooth handfish are a colourful family which crawl around the seafloor using adapted fins as “hands”. The red handfish, the third of the Tasmanian species that is listed as critically endangered. Posted on July 10, 2020 July 10, 2020 Author admin Comments Off on Smooth Handfish Extinction Marks a Sad Milestone. Edgar agrees that a lack of data might be veiling the true extent of biodiversity loss in the ocean. The smooth handfish (Sympterichthys unipennis) is an extinct species of handfish in the genus Sympterichthys. Among this stellar list of 24 contributors are Aboriginal Australian writer, Bruce Pascoe; scholar, controversial environmental activist and food sovereignty advocate, Vandana Shiva; ecological theorist and writer, Dorion Sagan, celebrated poet Jane Hirshfield and Canadian cellist Zoe Keating. Although the smooth handfish had not being sighted for more than 200 years, it took Edgar, Lynch and their colleagues decades of doggedly surveying the marine diversity of southern Australia before they were confident beyond reasonable doubt it was extinct. Until recently there was always the slight hope that there might be a remnant population or individuals clinging to survival. Seven species have not been seen for more than 20 years and three Tasmanian species, the spotted, red and Ziebell’s handfish, are listed as critically endangered. Collection methods were limited to lines, shallow water dip nets and seine nets. The fishing activities that probably contributed to the extinction of the smooth handfish ended 53 years ago. You were weird, and now you’re extinct By Laura Geggel An unusual-looking fish with bulging eyes, a mohawk-like fin on its head and the ability to […] With no living specimens to study, Edgar and his colleagues have had to infer much of what we know about the species from Péron’s records. The red handfish, a cousin of the now-extinct smooth handfish. Is it useful to acknowledge it? Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. Handfish are a family of 14 unusual bottom-dwelling species related to deep-sea anglerfish. Smooth Handfish Extinction Marks a Sad Milestone. The global pandemic has only heightened this – yet we rarely have the opportunity to come together in recognition of that grief. ‘But what do we do with this understanding? This week, 42 Red handfish were released, likely doubling the size of one of the remaining populations. Since then, no other smooth handfish (Sympterichthys unipennis) has ever been spotted, and the fish that Péron collected became the holotype for the entire species. Includes the first ever marine bony fish to be listed as #extinct (Smooth Handfish, Sympterichthys unipennis).” “If the smooth handfish were a mammal, bird, reptile or plant it would have been listed as extinct years ago. There are fears that the critically endangered spotted handfish could go the same way as its relative, the smooth handfish. The success of these supplementary works paved the way for their next event constructed for virtual attendance, Vigil for the Smooth Handfish taking place on November 22. Artistic Director of the vigil, Daz Chandler, says that 2020 has often asked us ‘What does it take to survive?’. ‘This diverse group with backgrounds in art, philosophy, archival research, international relations, music and science, first came together to hold a large-scale participatory installation as part of Australia’s Next Wave Festival. The IUCN's declaration of extinction marks the first time in modern history that a fish species has been declared extinct. The smooth handfish, which was declared extinct earlier this year but undoubtedly died out long before that. Vigil for the Smooth Handfish – artwork by Ahmed Salama. Péron was on board the Géographe, a vessel fitted out for research that was captained by Nicolas Baudin and sent to the southern continent by Napoleon. It was endemic to waters off the coast of Tasmania, mainly the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. For more than a century, however, there has been no trace in nature of this fish, despite long research by Tasmanian biologists. The red handfish, a cousin of the now-extinct smooth handfish. Several Handfish species still exist and look similar (about 14), so these weird fish are still around. “Almost certainly,” says Lynch. The smooth handfish is the first modern marine bony fish to ever be marked extinct on the IUCN Redlist. Post Views: 0. It became the first marine bony fish to be listed as extinct in modern times. Handfish: Interesting facts on the extinct fish. An unusual fish that had bulging eyes and walked on its fins has been declared extinct by scientists. When musing on the smooth handfish, he points to the destruction of the shellfish reefs which were once a dominant feature of south-east Tasmanian seas. With sea temperatures increasing at about four times the global average, climate change is hitting south-east Tasmania hard. A spotted handfish in a Tasmanian estuary, south-eastern Australia. There are a number of reasons the handfish is listed as endangered. This animal was quite common in the waters of Oceania, so much so that it was described by several European explorers. The Vigil for the Smooth Handfish is a free event and can be attended on Sunday, November 22, at 3pm via official social channels or via the official vigil website at www.handfishvigil.com. “The likelihood that [species] have not come to the notice of western science before they have become extinct is quite high.” This is because marine biodiversity is so broad, and surveying the sea is a harder task. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive. The smooth handfish ( Sympterichthys unipennis) is an extinct species of handfish in the genus Sympterichthys. He says: “When you look at these groups the number of threatened species is actually similar in the sea to on land.”. The underrepresentation of marine fish on the Red List has led to the comfortable assumption that marine fish are in less trouble than their terrestrial and freshwater counterparts. But shockingly, there is only one documented case. “No handfish has ever been caught by line,” explains Edgar, meaning the fish was most likely to have been caught with a seine or dip net, suggesting it was a shallow water species. The smooth handfish (Sympterichthys unipennis) was declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List earlier this year. Each contributor has been given the freedom to mourn, remember and respond to the loss of the Smooth Handfish however they wish. This dates back to the 1800s, when, during a scientific expedition that French naturalist, François Péron, collected a smooth handfish in the shallow waters of Tasmania. Scientists are now wondering how many more have disappeared unnoticed, Last modified on Mon 2 Nov 2020 10.09 EST. At one time, the smooth handfish thrived in South-Eastern Australia. The Spotted Handfish is currently listed as Critically Endangered under the Commonwealth and as Endangeredin Tasmania. The last smooth handfish probably perished decades before the species was declared extinct, which raises the question: have other marine fish gone extinct without us knowing? The smooth handfish has been declared extinct, making it the first marine fish to disappear from the planet in modern times. Brunswick Heads Simple Pleasures Photo Comp. No other specimens have been seen or collected since that date so the IUCN have recently declared the species extinct. “The loss of the smooth handfish is potentially part of a much bigger issue, as a large number of other species have dwindling populations and are heading towards extinction in this cold temperate location.”. Since colonisation, human activity has caused their numbers to plummet. Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. There is only one preserved specimen in the world, found and collected by French zoologist François Péron in the early 1800s. Once common enough to be one of the first fish to be described by European explorers of Australia, but not seen for well over a century, this is the first modern-day marine fish to be officially declared extinct. Why Did the Smooth Handfish Go Extinct? Includes the first ever marine bony fish to be listed as #extinct (Smooth Handfish, Sympterichthys unipennis ).” With the extinction of the smooth handfish, just 13 other handfish species are left – three of which are considered critically endangered. The so-called smooth handfish (Sympterichthys unipennis) has been declared extinct, the first modern marine […] Scooped up off the coast of south-east Tasmania, Péron’s catch was one of the 14 handfish species living in southern Australian waters at the time. The first, but not the last. However, in March this year, the fish was declared officially extinct. Habitat degradation and pest species have contributed to the species’ decline. If smooth handfish were so plentiful that Péron could easily scoop one up in his net, why did they disappear? A diver takes a closer look at a Ziebell’s handfish. However, he believes that historical dredging for scallops and oysters, sediment runoff from industry and climate change are the most likely causes for the extinction. The Smooth Handfish – an unusual looking sea creature with bulging eyes, a mohawk on its head, and hand-like fins that enabled it to walk on the seabed – was once so plentiful in the Tasman region, it was one of the first fish species to be documented in Australia. Joining The Parallel Effect’s Vigil for the Smooth Handfish will be an incredible line-up of first nations speakers, local and international guests, spanning Australia, South Africa, India, US, Canada, UK, Germany, Syria, Afghanistan and Palestine and featuring artists, writers, filmmakers, poets, musicians, scholars, scientists, ecologists and biological anthropologists. Also,they use photo of other handwish in the article related to this now-declared extinct fish, which hasn't actually been seen for over 100 years. As warm water moves south, species that require cold, shallow water dip nets and seine nets species to... 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