Cambodia – home to the world’s largest freshwater fish, weighing 660 pounds
BANGKOK, THAILAND – According to scientists from Southeast Asia and the United States, the world’s largest freshwater fish, a giant stingray, has been caught in Cambodia’s Mekong River.
According to a statement issued Monday by Wonders of the Mekong, a collaborative Cambodian-US scientific effort, the stingray, collected on June 13, stretched about 13 feet from snout to tail and weighed just less than 660 pounds.
The previous freshwater fish record was a 646-pound Mekong big catfish discovered in Thailand in 2005, according to the organization.
A local fisherman caught the stingray south of Stung Treng in northeastern Cambodia. The fisherman notified a nearby team of scientists from the Wonders of the Mekong project, which has promoted its conservation efforts in river communities.
Experts arrived within hours of receiving the call, placed after midnight with the news, and were astounded by what they saw.
“Yeah, when you see a fish this huge, especially in freshwater, it is difficult to comprehend,” Wonders of the Mekong leader Zeb Hogan said in an online interview from the University of Nevada, Reno. The university is collaborating with the Cambodian Fisheries Administration and USAID, the United States’ foreign development organization.
Freshwater fish are those that spend their whole lives in freshwater, as opposed to gigantic marine species like bluefin tuna and marlin, or fish that migrate between fresh and saltwater, such as the massive beluga sturgeon.
He explained that the stingray’s catch was more than merely a new record.
“The fact that these fish can still grow to this size is an encouraging sign for the Mekong River,” Hogan said, stressing that the waterway confronts numerous environmental issues.
China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam share the Mekong River. It is home to several huge freshwater fish species, but environmental constraints are increasing. Scientists are concerned that a significant dam-building initiative launched in recent years could seriously disturb spawning sites.
“Globally, large fish are becoming endangered. They are valuable species. It takes a long time for them to mature. If they are fished before they reach maturity, they will not be able to reproduce, “Hogan stated. “Because many of these enormous fish are migratory, they require large areas to survive. They are impacted by factors like dam habitat fragmentation and, obviously, overfishing. As a result, around 70% of the world’s giant freshwater fish are threatened with extinction, and the entire Mekong River has threatened “species.”
Before releasing the massive fish, the team that hurried to the scene implanted a tagging device near its tail. The device will transmit tracking data for the following year, providing unprecedented insight into Cambodia’s habits of enormous stingrays.
“The huge stingray is a fish that is largely unknown. In the last 20 years, its moniker, and even its scientific nomenclature, have changed multiple times, “Hogan stated. “It is distributed throughout Southeast Asia, but we know little about it. We don’t know anything about its past. We don’t know anything about its ecology or migration patterns.”
According to researchers, this is the fourth enormous stingray spotted in the same location in the last two months, all of which have been females. They believe this is a spawning hotspot for the species.
Because of its spherical shape and the fact that the moon was on the horizon when it was released on June 14, locals dubbed the stingray “Boramy,” or “full moon.” Aside from the honor of catching the record-breaker, the lucky fisherman was awarded at the market rate, which amounted to roughly $600.
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