The smoothtooth blacktip shark was first discovered in 2002. But from that point until 2008, there were no reports of anyone finding one anywhere in the world.
Then, in 2008 a research trip to a fish market in Kuwait turned up the surprise.
Alec Moore with the Shark Specialist Indian Ocean group told Scientific American many people thought the shark “might be extinct or not a valid species.”
But further digging shows nearly 50 of the fish have turned up at similar markets around the world.
Moore says finding them there makes perfect sense.
“The resources dedicated by a fleet of fishermen will always outmatch any scientific efforts to assess abundances,” he pointed out.
“In other words, the fishing industry is more efficient at finding sharks where there are not much left.”
Writing for Grist, Sarah Laskow cautions against too much optimism saying this "doesn’t necessarily mean the sharks are thriving and totally safe from being snuffed."
But she added it may be a good lesson.
"Scientists maybe need to look a little harder before declaring a species extinct."