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Man reels in 660-pound stingray, the world’s largest recorded freshwater fish: “It’s laborious to understand”

The world’s largest recorded freshwater fish, an enormous stingray, has been caught within the Mekong River in Cambodia, in keeping with scientists from the Southeast Asian nation and the USA.  

The stingray, captured on June 13, measured virtually 4 meters (13 toes) from snout to tail and weighed just below 300 kilograms (660 kilos), in keeping with an announcement Monday by Wonders of the Mekong, a joint Cambodian-U.S. analysis venture.

Cambodia Giant Stingray
On this photograph offered by Wonders of the Mekong taken on June 14, 2022, a person touches an enormous freshwater stingray earlier than being launched again into the Mekong River within the northeastern province of Stung Treng, Cambodia.

Chhut Chheana / AP

The earlier report for a freshwater fish was a 293-kilogram (646-pound) Mekong big catfish, found in Thailand in 2005, the group stated.

The stingray was snagged by a neighborhood fisherman south of Stung Treng in northeastern Cambodia. The fisherman alerted a close-by staff of scientists from the Wonders of the Mekong venture, which has publicized its conservation work in communities alongside the river.

The scientists arrived inside hours of getting a post-midnight name with the information, and had been amazed at what they noticed.

“Yeah, while you see a fish this dimension, particularly in freshwater, it’s laborious to understand, so I feel all of our staff was shocked,” Wonders of the Mekong chief Zeb Hogan stated in an internet interview from the College of Nevada in Reno. The college is partnering with the Cambodian Fisheries Administration and USAID, the U.S. authorities’s worldwide improvement company.

Freshwater fish are outlined as people who spend their complete lives in freshwater, versus big marine species resembling bluefin tuna and marlin, or fish that migrate between recent and saltwater like the massive beluga sturgeon.

The stingray’s catch was not nearly setting a brand new report, he stated.

“The truth that the fish can nonetheless get this huge is a hopeful signal for the Mekong River, ” Hogan stated, noting that the waterway faces many environmental challenges.

The Mekong River runs by China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It’s house to a number of species of big freshwater fish however environmental pressures are rising. Specifically, scientists worry a serious program of dam constructing lately could also be significantly disrupting spawning grounds.

“Huge fish globally are endangered. They’re high-value species. They take a very long time to mature. So in the event that they’re fished earlier than they mature, they do not have an opportunity to breed,” Hogan stated. “A number of these huge fish are migratory, so that they want massive areas to outlive. They’re impacted by issues like habitat fragmentation from dams, clearly impacted by overfishing. So about 70% of big freshwater fish globally are threatened with extinction, and all the Mekong species.”

The staff that rushed to the positioning inserted a tagging gadget close to the tail of the mighty fish that may ship monitoring data for the subsequent yr, offering unprecedented knowledge on big stingray habits in Cambodia.

“The enormous stingray is a really poorly understood fish. Its identify, even its scientific identify, has modified a number of occasions within the final 20 years,” Hogan stated. “It is discovered all through Southeast Asia, however we have now virtually no details about it. We do not find out about its life historical past. We do not find out about its ecology, about its migration patterns.”

Researchers say it is the fourth big stingray reported in the identical space prior to now two months, all of them females. They suppose this can be a spawning hotspot for the species.

Native residents nicknamed the stingray “Boramy,” or “full moon,” due to its spherical form and since the moon was on the horizon when it was freed on June 14. Along with the dignity of getting caught the record-breaker, the fortunate fisherman was compensated at market charge, that means he acquired a cost of round $600.

The Mekong River has the third-most various fish inhabitants on the earth, in keeping with the Mekong River Fee. Nevertheless, overfishing, air pollution and different elements have precipitated populations to dwindle. 

Biologist Zeb Hogan, who previously hosted the present “Monster Fish” on the Nationwide Geographic Channel, advised Reuters the catch was “very thrilling information”

“It signifies that this stretch of the Mekong continues to be wholesome. … It’s a signal of hope that these enormous fish nonetheless stay (right here),” he stated.