BANGKOK ( Associated Press) — The world’s largest recorded freshwater fish, the giant stingray, has been caught in the Mekong River in Cambodia, according to scientists from the Southeast Asian nation and the United States.
The stingray caught on June 13 measured nearly four meters (13 feet) from snout to tail and weighed just under 300 kilograms (660 pounds), according to a statement released Monday by the Cambodian-US joint Wonders of the Mekong research project.
The previous record for a freshwater fish was a 293 kg (646 lb) Mekong giant catfish discovered in Thailand in 2005.
The stingray was caught by a local fisherman south of Stung Treng in northeastern Cambodia. Rybak alerted a nearby team of scientists from the Mekong Wonders Project, who reported on their conservation work in communities along the river.
The scientists arrived hours after the midnight news call and were amazed by what they saw.
“Yes, when you see a fish of this size, especially in fresh water, it’s hard to understand, so I think our entire team was overwhelmed,” Wonders of the Mekong leader Zeb Hogan said in an online interview from the University of Nevada. Renault. The university cooperates with the Cambodia Fisheries Authority and USAID, the international development agency of the US government.
Freshwater fish are defined as those that spend their entire lives in fresh water, as opposed to giant marine species such as bluefin tuna and marlin, or fish that migrate between fresh and salt water, like the huge beluga.
According to him, the stingray catch was not just about setting a new record.
“The fact that fish can still reach this size is an encouraging sign for the Mekong River,” Hogan said, noting that the waterway faces many environmental challenges.
The Mekong River flows through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Several species of giant freshwater fish live here, but the pressure on the environment is growing. In particular, scientists fear that a major dam building program in recent years could seriously damage spawning grounds.
“Big fish around the world are under threat of extinction. These are high value species. They take a long time to mature. So if they are caught before they are mature, they will not have a chance to breed,” Hogan said. “Many of these large fish are migratory, so they need large areas to survive. They are affected by things like habitat fragmentation due to dams, apparently due to overfishing. Thus, about 70% of giant freshwater fish worldwide are endangered, and all Mekong species.”
The team that arrived at the scene put a tag near the mighty fish’s tail before releasing it. The device will send tracking information for next year, providing unprecedented data on the behavior of giant stingrays in Cambodia.
“The giant stingray is a very poorly understood fish. Its name, even its scientific name, has changed several times over the past 20 years,” Hogan said. “It is found throughout Southeast Asia, but we have almost no information about it. We do not know the history of his life. We don’t know anything about its ecology, about the nature of its migration.”
The researchers say this is the fourth giant stingray recorded in the same area in the past two months, all females. They think this may be a spawning hotspot for this species.
Locals nicknamed the stingray “Boram” or “full moon” because of its round shape and because the moon was on the horizon when it was released on June 14. In addition to the honor of catching the record holder, the lucky fisherman was compensated at the market rate, meaning he received a payment of around $600.