Cambodians catch the world’s largest recorded freshwater fish

Bangkok (AP) — According to scientists from Southeast Asian countries and the United States, a giant stingray, the world’s largest recorded freshwater fish, was captured on the Mekong River in Cambodia.

The stingray captured on June 13 is about 4 meters (13 feet) from nose to tail and weighs 300 kilograms (660 kilograms), according to a statement from WondersSiO Mekong, a joint research project between Cambodia and the United States. It was a little less than a pound).

According to the group, the previous record for freshwater fish was the 293 kilograms (646 pounds) of Mekong giant catfish found in Thailand in 2005.

Stingrays were caught by a local fisherman south of Stung Treng in northeastern Cambodia. Fishermen have warned a team of nearby scientists from the wonders of the Mekong Project, which has announced conservation efforts in riverside communities.

Scientists arrived within hours of receiving the news call after midnight and were amazed at what they saw.

“Yes, especially when you see a fish of this size in freshwater, it’s hard to understand, so I think the whole team was surprised,” said the wonder of Mekong leader Zebhogan in an online interview at the University of Nevada. I did. Reno. The university is affiliated with the Cambodian Fisheries Department and USAID, the international development agency of the US Government.

Freshwater fish are defined as fish that spend their entire lives in freshwater, as opposed to giant marine organisms such as bluefin tuna and lizards, and fish that move between freshwater and saltwater, such as the giant sturgeon.

He said stingray catches weren’t just about setting new records.

“The fact that fish can still grow this big is a sign of hope for the Mekong River,” Hogan said, saying that the waterways face many environmental problems.

The Mekong River runs through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is home to several giant freshwater fish, but the pressure on the environment is increasing. In particular, scientists are afraid that major dam construction programs in recent years may have seriously destroyed spawning grounds.

“Big fish around the world are endangered. They are valuable species. They take a long time to mature. Therefore, if you are fishing before they mature, they will breed. I don’t have the opportunity to do that, “says Hogan. “Many of these large fish are mobile and require a large area to survive. They are affected by things like habitat fragmentation from dams and are clearly affected by overfishing. As a result, about 70% of the world’s largest freshwater fish are endangered, and all Mekong species are endangered. “

The team rushed to the scene, inserted a tagging device near the tail of a mighty fish, and then released 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 last two decades,” Hogan said. “It can be found throughout Southeast Asia, but there is little information about it. I don’t know about its life history. I don’t know about its ecology or its movement patterns.”

According to researchers, this is the fourth giant stingray reported in the same area in the last two months, all female. They believe this could be a seed spawning hotspot.

Locals called stingrays “boramies” or “full moons” because of their round shape and the moon was on the horizon when it was released on June 14. Lucky fishermen were compensated at market prices. That is, he received a payment of about $ 600.

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