Cambodia has the world’s biggest freshwater fish
Scientists from Cambodia and the United States have caught the biggest freshwater fish ever recorded, a huge stingray, in the Mekong River.
The stingray was caught on June 13 and, according to a statement released on Monday by the Cambodian-American research initiative Wonders of the Mekong, it stretched about 13 feet from snout to tail and weighed just under 660 pounds.
In 2005, a Mekong big catfish weighing 646 pounds was caught in Thailand and declared the largest ever recorded for a freshwater species.
A fisherman from the northeastern province of Cambodia, not far from the city of Stung Treng, caught the stingray. A group of scientists working on the Wonders of the Mekong project, which has raised awareness of its conservation efforts in riverside villages, were notified by the fishermen.
As soon as they heard the news, the scientists were there, and they could not believe what they saw.
Wonders of the Mekong expedition leader Zeb Hogan remarked in an online interview from the University of Nevada, Reno, “Yeah, when you see a fish this size, especially in freshwater, it is hard to comprehend, so I think all of our team was stunned,” U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Cambodian Fisheries Administration are joining forces with the institution.
Different from large marine species like bluefin tuna and marlin, or fish that move between fresh and saltwater like the massive beluga sturgeon, freshwater fish are described as those that spend their whole lives in freshwater.
He said that breaking the record for a stingray capture was not the only motivation behind the feat.
Hogan added, “The fact that the fish can still get this big is a hopeful sign for the Mekong River, ” despite the fact that the river is plagued by environmental problems.
China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam are all connected by the Mekong River. Some of the largest freshwater fish in the world live there, but they are under increasing threat from pollution and other environmental hazards. The construction of large dams in recent years has caused special concern among scientists because of the potential disruption it may be causing to spawning habitats.
“Big fish globally are endangered. They’re high-value species. They take a long time to mature. So if they’re fished before they mature, they don’t have a chance to reproduce,” Hogan stated. “A lot of these big fish are migratory, so they need large areas to survive. They’re impacted by things like habitat fragmentation from dams, obviously impacted by overfishing. So about 70% of giant freshwater fish globally are threatened with extinction, and all of the Mekong species.”
The quick-thinking crew attached a tracking device on the massive fish’s tail before releasing it. For the next year, the gadget will relay data on the whereabouts of the enormous stingray in Cambodia, revealing insights into their behaviour that have never before been possible.
“The giant stingray is a very poorly understood fish. Its name, even its scientific name, has changed several times in the last 20 years,” Hogan said. “It’s found throughout Southeast Asia, but we have almost no information about it. We don’t know about its life history. We don’t know about its ecology, about its migration patters.”
Researchers claim this is the fourth female big stingray to be spotted in the same location in the previous two months. They speculate that this area serves as a prime breeding ground for the species.
People in the area gave the stingray the name “Boramy,” which means “full moon,” due of its spherical appearance and the fact that the moon was visible on the horizon the night it was let free, June 14. The lucky fisherman was paid market value for his catch, which would put him in the ballpark of $600, in addition to the bragging rights that come with catching a record-breaker.