Thousands of New Marine Species Found

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 19 (UPI) — More than 5,000 newly discovered marine creatures are in need of environmental policies that protect vulnerable habitats, scientists in San Diego said.

The new species, part of the Census of Marine Life, were highlighted at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in San Diego. The census, a decade in the making by more than 2,000 scientists from 80 countries, is to be released officially in October.

The findings reinforced evidence that delicate coral reefs, some of them thousands of years old, are in need of protection from deep-sea trawlers, said Jason Hall-Spencer, a marine biologist from Britain’s University of Plymouth.

“All but one of the reefs I’ve looked at has been very badly damaged by bottom trawling — where a fishing net is dragged along the sea floor,” Hall-Spencer said.

The census included a crab so unusual it was given a new family designation — Kiwaidae, the BBC reported Friday. The crab discovered near Easter Island was named Kiwa hirsuta because it was so hairy looking.

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