If you ever encounter a Sloane’s Viperfish, you’re in for a treat. The charming creature has a bite so ferocious that its first vertebra has to act as a shock absorber. When it chomps, it unhinges its skull, opens its jaw 90 degrees, and expands its stomach to eat things up to 50% bigger than itself. Its absurd fangs act as a cage, trapping anything trying to escape.

Luckily for us, Viperfish are found in the high seas, which is a very good reason to never go there. But unfortunately lots of people ARE going there, or planning to, mainly to nause them up.

But what, or where, is the ‘high seas’? Are there pirates there? Does anyone really care about them given they’re big, wet and miles away? Do they do anything useful for humanity, other than nurture killer fish?

Dr Olive Heffernan, a superstar scientist with a forthcoming book on the High Seas, joins us to answer all these questions and to explain a) just how imperilled this extraordinary bit of planet earth really is, and b) what the good people of the UN are trying to do about it.

Sustainababble is your friendly environment podcast, out weekly. Theme music by the legendary Dicky Moore – @dickymoo. Sustainababble logo by the splendid Arthur Stovell at Design by Mondial. Ecoguff read out by Arabella.

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