Have you ever thought to yourself, "what's the rarest fish in the world"?
Look no further, because the team at Eight Claws has taken upon itself to compile for you a list of the 5 RAREST FISHES IN THE WORLD!
5. European Sea Sturgeon (Atlantic Sturgeon)
Current Estimated Numbers: 20 – 750 adults in the wild; 1000s captive stock
The European Sea Sturgeon, also known as the Atlantic Sturgeon (not to be confused with the other Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus)), is a rare fish found only in the Garonne River in France. Historically, the European Sea Sturgeon had a much larger range from the North and Baltic Seas, English Channel, European coasts of the Atlantic, northern Mediterranean west of Rhodos, and western and southern Black Sea. There were also reports that the European Sea Sturgeon was found near Alegeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.
Today, there are only about 20 – 750 adult European Sea Sturgeons in the wild. However, there are a few thousand fish released back into the wild after being raised in captivity.
4. Smalltooth Sawfish
Current estimated numbers: total global population unknown; about 269 – 505 in the U.S.
Although they look like sharks, the Smalltooth Sawfish is related to rays, which are cartilaginous fish. In the past, the Smalltooth Sawfish was significantly more abundant in tropical and subtropical waters in the western and eastern Atlantic Ocean. Today, the Smalltooth Sawfish can only be reliably found off the coast of Florida and near various islands in the Bahamas.
It is believed that over 95% of the Smalltooth Sawfish population has been eradicated since about 1962. The wild Smalltooth Sawfish population was destroyed by targeted fishing and many of the fish still get caught in nets meant for other fish.
3. Giant Sea Bass
Current Estimated Numbers: about 500
As its name implies, the Giant Sea Bass is a massive fish that can grow up to nearly 600 lbs (272.16 kg) in the size. Giant Sea Bass are also the largest carnivores in the kelp forests of Southern California. In the past, Giant Sea Bass were much more common, but were easily fished because they like to congregate in large groups. Over the summer of 2018, scientists from UC Santa Barbara and the Aquarium of the Pacific confirmed that a number of Giant Sea Bass were living at Avalon’s Casino Dive Park, a popular scuba diving spot.
2. Adriatic Sturgeon
Current Estimated Numbers: fewer than 250; may be functionally extinct in the wild
In the past, the Adriatic Sturgeon was more widespread and abundant in the Adriatic Sea. However, overfishing over the past several decades has decimated the wild population of Adriatic Sturgeon and there may be fewer than 250 wild fish left. Since 1988, the Adriatic Sturgeon has successfully been raised on fish farms and the species is continuously restocked in Italy. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that these released fish are reproducing in the wild. There have not been any records of the Adriatic Strugeon spawning in its usual areas for the past 15 years.
1. Red Handfish
Current Estimated Numbers: 40 – 80
The Red Handfish is a weird looking fish that uses its hand-like fins to move across the ocean floor. First discovered in the 1800s, the Red Handfish has always had a small population size. Until early 2018, only one group of about 20 – 40 Red Handfish were known to be living Hobart’s Frederick Henry Bay off the coast of eastern Tasmania.
In early 2018, a second group of handfish was discovered,. This new discovery brings the estimated number of Red Handfish up to about 80 individuals. Red Handfish are critically endangered and their numbers are so low because their eggs, which they lay on the bottom of seaweed, are often accidentally scattered when people or other marine creatures brush past the seaweed.