Most people have heard of great white, hammerhead and tiger sharks but there are many other species – and every year a number of new ones are discovered. One enthusiast has, so far, identified 24 types of shark and related fish that were previously unknown.
Dave Ebert has a favourite market in Taiwan. He’s been going there since he was a student 30 years ago.
It’s hot, humid and noisy – baskets are filled to the brim with a staggering variety of fish. Beach umbrellas provide some relief from the sun as puddles of water collect on the concrete floor.
“I started seeing a lot of species and I was going, ‘What the heck is this?’ And in many cases it was a known species but we didn’t know it occurred here. Then I realised there were some species we didn’t even have names for, they weren’t even known about, and here people were catching them and selling them,” he says, remembering his first visit.
“I collected so many specimens I filled up my suitcases. I rinsed them in water and preserved them in ethanol and basically just wrapped them up in my clothes to keep them moist and put them in plastic bags so they wouldn’t leak.”
The fishermen, wary at first, soon warmed to him. “Now when I go back, they know me and if they’ve brought in something unusual they’ll come and find me. That’s how I’ve found some really cool stuff.