New species of fish discovered in Omani waters

Eating the snake mackerel's flesh can result in gempylid fish poisoning

Masjid Al Rasool Al Adham in Muscat, where the unusual fish was handed to the Directorate General of Fisheries Research. Victor Besa / The National
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Oman's Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources on Tuesday documented a new species of fish in Omani waters.

An Omani fisherman caught an escolar — a member of the Gempylidae (snake mackerel) family — off the coast of Mirbat, Dhofar, recently and handed it to the Directorate General of Fisheries Research, the ministry reported.

"This scientific recording and documentation is a great addition to the biodiversity of Oman," the ministry said.

The ministry said the escolar, which can grow to more than two metres in length, is an oily fish native to tropical and temperate seas worldwide.

The ministry thanked the Oman Fishermen’s Association for its co-operation in documenting the fish and urged all fishermen to report any new species of fish they come across and communicate with researchers in the field.

The ministry also issued a warning that the escolar’s wax-rich flesh can cause keriorrhea, which is also called gempylotoxism or gempylid fish poisoning.

"Symptoms range from stomach cramps to rapid loose bowel movements, occurring 30 minutes to 36 hours following consumption," the ministry said.

Updated: September 28, 2022, 11:56 AM