According to scientists, a fisherman on the Mekong River in Cambodia caught the largest freshwater fish ever recorded – a 300-kilogram stingray.
The large freshwater stingray, which measured four metres (13 feet) from snout to tail, was caught last week and released back into the wild after being fitted with a tag to track its behaviour.
Largest Freshwater Fish Caught Cambodia
According to the US-funded Wonders of the Mekong research project, the gigantic bottom-dweller broke the previous record for largest documented freshwater fish, which was held by a 293-kilo (646-pound) Mekong giant catfish caught in Thailand in 2005.
The stingray, which was caught in Stung Treng province in northern Cambodia, weighed more than twice as much as a typical lowland gorilla, according to experts.
“In 20 years of researching giant fish in rivers and lakes on six continents, this is the largest freshwater fish that we’ve encountered or that’s been documented anywhere worldwide,” Zeb Hogan, a fish scientist resulting the Wonders of the Mekong task, said in a statement released Tuesday.
“This is an absolutely astonishing discovery, and justifies efforts to better understand the mysteries surrounding this species and the incredible stretch of river where it lives.”
The research teams made to fit an acoustic tag to the stingray before returning it to the river, to try to learn more about the secretive creature’s elusive behaviour.
A fisherman in the same province also caught an endangered big freshwater stingray measuring four metres long and weighing 180 kilogrammes last month.
More than 1,000 species of fish call the Mekong home and the stingray is not the only giant lurking in the shallow waters — the gigantic catfish and gigantic barb also approach up to three metres long and 270 kilos in weight.
Scientists have warned that waste, as well as “ghost nets” — abandoned fishing nets that can still catch fish — pose a hazard to animals even in the Mekong’s deep stretches.
The renowned waterway begins in China and twists south through areas of Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam, feeding 60 million people through its basin and tributaries.
Environmentalists, on the other hand, have long expressed worries about dam construction along the Mekong River, which they believe could destroy fish stocks.