A lucky fisherman from Cambodia has found something that everyone knew would go viral as soon as the pictures were posted online. While wading through a river, the fisherman stumbled upon what might just be the largest freshwater fish ever recorded. The animal was a stingray that measured 13 feet long and weighed a staggering 661 pounds. Now fisherman Moul Thun, 42, is glad to be sharing his record-breaking catch, which shattered the previous freshwater fish record of a 646-pound catfish previously captured in the waters of Thailand.
Locals nicknamed the massive stingray “Boramy,” which translates to “Full Moon.” The name was in reference to the massive size of the freshwater stingray. Fisherman Thun captured the beast in the waters of the famous Mekong River, which is known for having very large fish in its waters.
After the massive stingray was caught, researchers from the Wonders of Mekong research project arrived at the scene and helped tag the large fish. They were also the ones who helped provide an official measure of the beast’s length and weight. After the measurements of the massive stingray were captured, the researchers released the creature back into the Mekong River and allowed it to go back to its normal life.
The long river runs throughout numerous Asian countries, including China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The tag on the stingray, which released an acoustic signal, will allow researchers to track the stingray’s movements and to see where the beast goes after it leaves the part of Cambodia where it was captured by the fisherman.
Although the Mekong River is known to house large fish, the environment is shrinking for these creatures. A new program is building a dam that may disrupt spawning grounds for these large freshwater fish species.
Wonders of the Mekong leader Zeb Hogan told AFP: “Big fish globally are endangered. They’re high-value species. They take a long time to mature. So, if they fished before they matured, they don’t have a chance to reproduce. 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 percent of giant freshwater fish globally are threatened with extinction, and all of the Mekong species.”
Hogan also serves as a fish biologist at the University of Nevada.
Hogan added, “The giant stingray is a very poorly understood fish. Its name, even its scientific name, has changed several times in the last 20 years. It’s found throughout Southeast Asia, but we have almost no information about it. We don’t know about its life history. We don’t know about its ecology, about its migration patterns.”
The lucky fisherman who caught the large stingray is now being called a hero by locals and researchers alike. He has brought attention to the plight of these large fish and the dangers they face in the wild. Hopefully, with more awareness, people will work together to protect these creatures and their habitats.
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