The largest freshwater fish ever documented

The largest freshwater fish ever documented

According to BBC, A 300kg stingray caught in the Mekong River in Cambodia is the largest freshwater fish ever documented. It overturned the previous record holder, a 293 kg giant Mekong catfish caught in Thailand in 2005. However, there is no official record or database of the world’s largest freshwater fish. In Brazil, it seems, the biggest is the arapaima that can reach up to 200 kg.

stingray largest freshwater fish
Image, BBC.

Biggest fish in 20 years

Immediately, Zeb Hogan, a biologist who leads the Wonders of the Mekonga USAID agency, told the BBC “In 20 years of researching giant fish in rivers and lakes on six continents, this is the largest freshwater fish we’ve found that has similarly been documented anywhere in the world.

largest freshwater fish, giant stingray
The giant stingray returned to the water. Image, BBC.

Likewise, “finding and documenting this fish is remarkable and a rare positive sign of hope, all the more so because it took place in the Mekong, a river that currently faces many challenges,” said Hogan, who is also a professor at the University of Nevada.

The Mekong River

It definitely passes through a huge and very poor region: it flows from the Tibetan plateau through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, but despite its poverty, it is still a river of great biodiversity.

And it is in order not to miss it that the conservation project was created, which works with the Cambodian Fisheries Administration to establish a network that alerts researchers if giant as well as endangered fish are caught.

biggest freshwater fish
Image, BBC.

That way it worked. So, on the night of June 13, a fisherman from the island of Koh Preah called to say he had caught a “very large” stingray – 3.98m long and 2.2m wide.

Then, after receiving an acoustic tag to track its future movement, the stingray was released back into the river. She disappeared into the muddy waters of the Mekong at dusk.

“The discovery of the stingray, however, is evidence that the natural world can still produce new and extraordinary discoveries. And that many of the largest aquatic creatures remain woefully understudied,” said Hogan.

The giant freshwater stingray is an endangered species. This is the second giant stingray examined by the team since May – the previous one weighed 181kg.

“When we find huge fish it means the environment is still healthy, unlike what we’ve seen in places like the Yantgze River where scientists have reported the extinction of several species,” Hogan said.

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