Giant stingray caught in the Mekong River

Marine biologists celebrated the catch of an endangered large freshwater ray on May 5 from the Mekong River in Cambodia’s northeastern Stung Treng province, according to a report by Reuters. The beam was an unintentional catch by commercial fishermen who were soaking the bait in a 260-foot-deep river pond. The Jakarta Post reported that the rare huge ray was caught after it swallowed a smaller fish that had taken a bait.

After the hunt, a team of visiting scientists from the Mekong River Wonders Project worked with fishermen to decipher the beam before it was weighed and measured. Then they brought him back unharmed to the very remote part of the Mekong where he was caught.

The freshwater ray over 13 feet long and weighing 397 pounds is an important find in that area of ​​the Mekong River. Scientists studying the area said the area’s biodiversity is threatened by the possibility of building hydroelectric dams on the river.

“This catch was significant because it confirms the presence of these large fish along the river,” fish biologist Zeb Hogan told Reuters.

The crew celebrates catching a huge beam before it’s launched. Wonders of the Mekong River – University of Nevada, Reno

Hogan led the USAID-funded Wonders of the Mekong science expedition that ended last week in the area. He is a fisheries biologist from the University of Nevada.

“This is a very remote stretch of the river, and it’s not well studied, it’s very important for fisheries and biodiversity, and it’s also a stretch of a river that is under threat,” he said.

The wonders of the Mekong River scientific expedition used submersible watercraft equipped with cameras and lights to explore the deep pools of the river while studying it. Hogan says the Stung Treng County area on the river could have “devastating environmental impacts” if the proposed dams were built.

Hogan, who has spent 20 years studying the river, says illegal fishing and pollution also negatively affect the Mekong. He says the declining numbers of freshwater fish in the area is worrying.

β€œHistorically, this part of the river has produced 200 billion small fish that then spread out during the flood season throughout Cambodia and even into Vietnam,” Hogan said.

Experts believe the giant stingray is the largest freshwater species on Earth, according to National Geographic. The total number of these fish is unknown, and not much has changed about them in millions of years. While this was large, reports suggest it could weigh up to 1,300 pounds, although accounts for fish of this size have not been verified.

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