The largest freshwater fish in the world was caught in the Mekong River, Cambodia. The giant stingray weighed 300 kilograms and measured almost four meters. Scientists have a chance to monitor the less-explored creature.
Giant Freshwater Fish
The stingray was caught by a local fisherman in the Mekong River near the city of Stung Treng in northeastern Cambodia. Biologists from Wonders of the Mekong arrived within a few hours. The size of the freshwater stingray amazed them. “When you see a fish of this size in fresh water, it’s incredible,” said Wonders of the Mekong project leader Zeb Hogan.
“The fact that the fish has grown to this size is a very hopeful sign for the Mekong River,” the biologist added. According to him, this is evidenced by the fact that it maintains its ecosystem in a still good condition, despite the ecological threats. Scientists have almost no information about the fish and do not know its history or migration patterns.
Before the biologists returned the giant stingray to the river, they installed a tracking device close to its tail. The device will send information about the fish’s moves and how it behaves throughout the following year, which will help describe the life of these stingrays in their natural environment. All this information could help figure out how to protect the mysterious creatures.
“A lot of these big fish migrate, so they need large areas to survive. They are affected, for example, by habitat fragmentation due to dams, and of course, they are also affected by overfishing. So about seventy percent of giant freshwater fish are at risk of extinction – and all species in the Mekong,” adds Hogan.
Big fish are globally threatened. At the same time, they are a significant species. “They take a long time to mature, so if they’re caught early, they don’t have a chance to reproduce,” Hogan said. The record for the largest freshwater fish was held by a 293-kilogram catfish discovered in the Thai part of the Mekong in 2005.
Source and credit: IG/Wonders of the Mekong, YT/GuardiganNews