Weighing at a whopping 300 kg, the mammoth stingray found along the Mekong River was almost 4 metres long, and is believed to be the largest and heaviest freshwater fish the in world!
Residents of a fishing village in Cambodia experienced quite the surprise when a giant stingray was caught and released. Weighing in at a whopping 300 kg (661 pounds), the mammoth stingray found along the Mekong River on June 13, 2022 was almost 4 metres long (13 ft), and is believed to be the largest and heaviest freshwater fish the in world — as big as a car!
Villagers started sharing news of seeing a large black shadow gliding about the river after daylight hours, and some fishermen decided to see if they could trap it. After they were successful, the joint American_Cambodian research team — Wonders of Mekong were notified.
Chea Seila, a member of the research team told The Washington Post, “They thought they were spirits. I think they were stingrays.”
The team specialises in documenting all the different freshwater fish species, attended to the stingray, weighed, and then released it back into the river.
A CRUCIAL DISCOVERY
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reported that one-third of the world’s freshwater fish species are threatened with extinction. Freshwater fishes weighing up to 27 kg have been declining by 94% since 1970.
Sixteen species were declared extinct in 2020, prompting fears of a steady decline in extant species. Biologist Zeb Hogan, who directs the Wonders of the Mekong team, said the discovery of the stingray is significant.
It means that large freshwater fish — many of which are critically threatened — actually have a chance to continue existing.
“I was concerned we would see [more extinctions] before we would see records broken. The fact that this record-breaking fish was found is mainly significant because it shows that there is still hope for these fish,” he said.
Hogan, who is in the midst of completing his book, Chasing Giants: In Search of the World’s Largest Fish, said he’ll be updating the text to reflect the recent events.
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