All of the fish featured in this section are very deep sea fish, meaning they live at depths of at least 1000 metres, and are found all the way down to depths of over 3000 metres. Most of the species profiled below are only found in two areas around the British Isles: the Rockall Trough and the Shetland-Faroe Channel, as these are the only locations which have water deep enough to provide a suitable habitat. The Rockall Trough is located in the Rockall Basin to the west of Ireland and contains underwater plateaus, trenches, ridges and seamounts. At its deepest point the Rockall Trough is thought to be 3500 metres below the surface. The Shetland-Faroe Channel is a similar feature, found to the north of Scotland, which is greater than 3000 metres at its deepest point. Both of these locations contain diverse, deep-sea eco-systems and are home to deep sea fish species which are not found anywhere else in British or Irish waters. Due to the immense depths at which these species live none of them have shore caught or boat caught records.
Commercial Exploitation of Deep Sea Fish
Many deep sea fish are now exploited commercially. This is due to trawling technology advancing to the extent that previously unreachable fish species can now be caught, and the fact that more common (and much easier to catch) species such as cod, haddock and plaice have been fished to such an extent that new species have had to be exploited to satisfy consumer demand. The fishing of deep water species is controversial as the eco-systems at these depths are much more fragile and easily damaged than those in shallower water, and many deep sea species are long-lived and late maturing, meaning that numbers of these species will take a very long time to recover – even if deep-water commercial fishing stops entirely. Read more about these issues on the page on commercial fishing.