Cambodia: Fisherman catches record-breaking giant stingray in Mekong

The giant stingray was a record breaker weighing 300 kg and measuring four meters long (Photo: AP)

The world’s largest recorded freshwater fish, a giant stingray, has been caught in Cambodia, according to scientists.

The record-breaking specimen was caught on June 13 in the Mekong River.

It weighed nearly four meters from snout to tail and weighed just under 300 kilograms, according to a statement from Wonders of the Mekong, a joint Cambodian-American research project.

The previous record for a freshwater fish was a 293 kg Mekong giant catfish, discovered in Thailand in 2005, the group said.

Heavy water 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 such as the enormous beluga sturgeon.

The stingray was snagged by a local fisherman south of Stung Treng in northeastern Cambodia.

The fisherman warned a close-knit team of scientists from the Wonders of the Mekong project, who have published their conservation work in communities along the river.

Within hours of being warned of the catch, scientists arrived on the scene and were amazed at what they saw.

Not your daily catch (Image: AP)

“Yes, when you see a fish of this size, especially in fresh water, it’s hard to understand, so I think all of our team was amazed,” said Zeb Hogan, who leads the Wonders of the Mekong project in an online interview from the University of Nevada at Reno.

The university collaborates with the Cambodian Fisheries Administration and USAID, the US Government’s International Development Agency.

The stingray catch was not just about setting a new record, Zeb said.

“The fact that the fish can still grow so large is a hopeful sign for the Mekong.”

The Mekong River flows through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Such large specimens are rare, but have given researchers hope as an indicator of the health of the Mekong River (Photo: AP)

It is home to several species of giant freshwater fish, but the environmental pressure on the waterway is increasing.

In particular, scientists fear that a large dam construction program in recent years could seriously disrupt the road area.

“Large fish worldwide are threatened,” Zeb added.

‘They are types of high value. They take a long time to ripen. So if they are fished before they are adults, they have no chance of reproducing.

‘Many of these large fish are migrating, so they need large areas to survive.

‘They are affected by things like habitat fragmentation of dams, obviously affected by overfishing.

‘So about 70% of giant freshwater fish worldwide are threatened with extinction, and all Mekong species.’

The giant stingray was electronically tagged before being released back into the Mekong River (Photo: AP)

The Wonders of the Mekong team have inserted a tag device near the tail of the record-breaking stingray so that they can track their movements and collect unusual data about their behavior.

‘The giant stingray is a very poorly understood fish. “His name, even his scientific name, has changed several times in the last 20 years,” Zeb added.

‘It has been found all over Southeast Asia, but we have almost no information about it.

‘We do not know about his life history. We do not know about its ecology, about its migration patterns. ‘

Researchers said it was the fourth giant stingray reported in the same area in the past two months, all females.

They think this could be a spawning hotspot for the species.

Locals nicknamed the stingray Boramy, or ‘full moon’, because of its round shape and because the moon was on the horizon when it was liberated on June 14.

In addition to the honor of catching the record-breaker, the lucky fisherman was compensated at market rate, which meant he received a payment of around £ 490 ($ 600 dollars).

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Cambodia: Fisherman catches record-breaking giant stingray in Mekong

Source link Cambodia: Fisherman catches record-breaking giant stingray in Mekong

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