LARGEST FRESHWATER FISH EVER CAUGHT HOOKED IN CAMBODIA
A fisherman in northern Cambodia caught what scientists believe to be the world’s largest freshwater fish – a massive stingray about which scientists know very little.
The 42-year-old fisherman grabbed the 661-pound, 13-foot-long fish in a remote island on the Mekong River in the Stung Treng district. Before the ray was put back into the river, a team of scientists from the Wonders of Mekong research project assisted in tagging, measuring, and weighing it. It was healthy when released, according to the researchers, and they expect it to survive.
Researchers will be able to trace the fish’s travels and, hopefully, learn more about its species’ habits in the Mekong thanks to the tag, which produces an audio signal. “Highlights how little we know,” says the catchphrase. On the evening of June 13, Moul Thun, a fisherman, captured the huge stingray with a hook and line and notified researchers the next morning. Wonders of Mekong researchers had already arrived in northern Cambodia to install underwater sensors as part of a study to track migratory fish in the river.
“It’s a really robust stretch of the river, with a lot of deep pools – basins up to 90 meters deep,” said Hogan, who also hosts the National Geographic television series “Monster Fish.” “We began focusing on this area as a very significant length of river for biodiversity and fisheries, as well as a last refuge for these large animals.”
The research team has been in contact with local fisherman for several months, encouraging them to contact them if they land a large catch. In recent months, the group has assisted with the release of two other enormous giant freshwater stingrays. The record ray was captured by a fisherman who was paid market price for his catch. “It works because the fish isn’t particularly valuable.”
Little is known about the huge freshwater stingray, according to Hogan. The monster has a mouth the size of a banana, no teeth, but “gripping pads” that it uses to crush prey.
“They’re looking for shrimp, mollusks, and small fish on the bottom.” “They can suck them up and crush them with this banana-shaped mouth,” Hogan explained. Fishermen in the vicinity have reported three female stingray catches in the last two months, according to Hogan. The experts believe the location could be a key seasonal gathering spot for huge freshwater stingrays, as well as a breeding