The world’s largest recorded freshwater fish was reportedly caught in Cambodia’s Mekong River, and people looked on in awe of the massive creature.
The Associated Press (AP) reported Monday:
The stingray, captured on June 13, measured almost four meters (13 feet) from snout to tail and weighed slightly under 300 kilograms (660 pounds), according to a statement Monday by Wonders of the Mekong, a joint Cambodian-U.S. research project.
The previous record for a freshwater fish was a 293-kilogram (646-pound) Mekong giant catfish, discovered in Thailand in 2005, the group said.
The creature was allegedly hooked by a fisherman south of Stung Treng, who reported the catch to scientists with the Wonders of the Mekong group. The scientists rushed to the scene and could barely believe their eyes.
A photo showed what appeared to be the giant fish lying on a green tarp in the water as a man reached over to touch it:
RECORD-BREAKING CATCH: The world’s largest recorded freshwater fish, a giant stingray, has been caught in the Mekong River in Cambodia, according to scientists from the Southeast Asian nation and the United States. https://t.co/PifSrRaAg1 pic.twitter.com/Zy5WA6nJpd
— FOX 8 New Orleans (@FOX8NOLA) June 20, 2022
In a social media post on Monday, Wonders of the Mekong shared more images of the catch and said it set in motion “the first-ever acoustic tagging effort of a freshwater stingray”:
For the last month, Wonders of the Mekong team members, along with FISHBIO and others, have been deploying a network of acoustic receivers throughout the Cambodian Mekong basin. This new network will allow scientists to observe this rare fish species and learn about its movement and behavior!
The entire team was stunned, the group’s leader, Zeb Hogan, told the AP during an interview from the University of Nevada.
However, the find was not simply about setting a record, but its reported size was a positive sign for the Mekong River, according to Hogan.
The waterway is home to multiple species of giant freshwater fish, therefore, scientists were concerned about recent dam building that could impact spawning grounds.
Video footage showed people hauling the seemingly massive fish onto the tarp as others took its measurements before releasing it:
Hogan continued, “A lot of these big fish are migratory, so they need large areas to survive. They’re impacted by things like habitat fragmentation from dams, obviously impacted by overfishing.”
“So about 70% of giant freshwater fish globally are threatened with extinction, and all of the Mekong species,” he added.
The Mekong River was described as the lifeblood of 300 million people in the region, according to Conservation.org.