'World's Biggest' Freshwater Fish Netted in Cambodia

According to experts, a fisherman in Cambodia caught a 300-kilogram stingray, the largest freshwater fish ever recorded.

The massive freshwater stingray, which was collected last week and tagged with a tag to monitor its activity, measured four meters (13 feet) from snout to tail.

According to the US-funded Wonders of the Mekong study project, the enormous bottom-dweller broke the previous record for the largest freshwater fish ever caught, which was held by a massive catfish from the Mekong that was taken in Thailand in 2005 and weighed 293 kilograms (646 pounds).

The specialists said that the stingray, which was caught in the Stung Treng district of northern Cambodia, weighed more than twice as much as a typical lowland gorilla.

"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," according to Zeb Hogan, a fish scientist.
"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." 

Before releasing the stingray back into the river, the scientists attached it with an acoustic tag in an effort to better understand the mysterious behavior of the enigmatic animal.
A fisherman in the same province also caught a four-meter-long, 180-kg endangered big freshwater stingray last month.

The Mekong is home to more than 1,000 different fish species, and in addition to the enormous stingray hiding in the murky waters, there are also big catfish and giant barb that can grow to three meters long and 270 kilograms in weight.

Even in the deepest parts of the Mekong, scientists have cautioned that plastic debris and "ghost nets," which are abandoned fishing gear that may still catch fish, pose a threat to biodiversity.

By feeding 60 million people through its basin and tributaries, the well-known waterway, which originates in China, winds its way through sections of Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
However, the building of dams along the Mekong River that would decimate fish populations has long been a source of concern for conservationists.