Your "DISCOVERY" could earn you $500!

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We wish to thank all those who participated in the "Where are the kids contest?" There were some good proposals, but none that could be verified by immediately practical means. Thanks to the success of our first contest: Save the Coelacanth (in which Dr. Raymond Waldner won $500 for suggesting a technique for deep release that is now being introduced in the Comoros), Dinofish.com presents its third contest: Coela-Quest. Now we offer $500 for information leading to the discovery of new coelacanth populations! Please read the information and instructions below.

UNTIL NOW, virtually all confirmed coelacanth catches and observations have taken place in the following locations: 1) Comoro Islands- largest known population- in the hundreds, 2) South Africa- (Sodwana) 18 confirmed plus the original 1938 fish trawled off East London, 3) Northern Indonesia (Sulawesi)- 4, possibly 5 confirmed, 4) Madagascar- 4 confirmed in the southwest, 5) Mozambique- 1 confirmed, 6) Kenya- 1 confirmed trawled off Malindi.

Are there other coelacanths elsewhere? Is there another "mother" population from which coelacanths are dispersing to outpost colonies?

TIPS: 1)Most coelacanth discoveries are "cultural" discoveries, that is the fish is known locally by another name, and is only "discovered" as a coelacanth when it comes to the attention of Western scientists. (The Sodwana coelacanths are an exception to this. They were not know to be there until discovered by divers.) 2) Coelacanths are likely to be found in tropical to semi-temperate waters in the vicinity of bottom structures which afford safety and relief from currents. Volcanic slopes, and submarine ledges are good candidates. 3) Coelacanths may be deeper or shallower than the typical 700ft depth of the caves they use in the Comoros. There are even (unconfirmed) reports of coelacanths made by snorkel divers! DO NOT TAKE SAFETY RISKS! There are already 3 diver deaths associated with the search for coelacanths. It is little use having a fish named after you if you are dead.
SUSPECT AREAS: The African and Madagascar coasts. Aldabra and other islands in the Western Indian Ocean; The Celebes Basin Rim- In addition to Sulawesi, this includes Eastern Borneo (Kalimantan), Mindanao (Southern Philippines), and dozens of other islands; The South Pacific (There was an unconfirmed report from Tonga!) Perhaps you live in or are in contact with people from these regions?

HOW TO CONFIRM A REPORT IF YOU ARE INVOLVED WITH A CATCH OR OBSERVATION. (No hoaxes please! Coelacanth hoaxes, however clever, are common, tedious, and confuse the real effort.) FIRST: Try to preserve the specimen by freezing it, if professional perfusing and/or preservation fluids are not available. Do not remove any organs. If freezing is not an option, just put the fish in a safe place and let it dry out. (Cover it to protect from flies). It will smell, but it's worth it! Obtain some scales as a security measure. SECOND: Email dinofish.com. THIRD: OBTAIN PHOTOGRAPHS and/or VIDEO of the fish in context- showing surroundings. The more photos the better. Digital photos are easy to email. FOURTH: Obtain multiple witnesses and document all accounts of the catch or observation with written signed statements (The scientific community is hard to convince!) You must try to go beyond an anecdotal account with physical evidence and/or photographs. Otherwise, the response will be "That's interesting, do you have any proof?"
WHAT IF YOU HAVE SECOND HAND INFORMATION? You can still win the contest, if you direct dinofish.com to a first hand source that pans out, or if you, yourself, develop the first hand source. .


Happy Questing


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