If we’re lucky, we may come across fascinating specimens of marine wildlife from time to time.
Some villagers in Cambodia can probably vouch for this after catching a giant stingray in the Mekong River on Monday (13 Jun). The ray is apparently the world’s largest freshwater fish on record.
The magnificent creature weighed almost 300kg and spanned almost four metres from snout to tail.
After a brief weighing and measuring session, the giant stingray was released into the river.
According to CNN, some Cambodian villagers had caught the giant freshwater stingray in the Mekong River on the night of 13 Jun.
The female stingray weighed a staggering 661 pounds (about 300kg) and was more than 13 feet (four metres) long from snout to tail. Researchers said the creature is the world’s biggest freshwater fish on record.
National Geographic reported that the Wonders of the Mekong, a research team formed to study the Mekong River, had received a call from a fisherman by the name of Moul Thun.
The fisherman told a team member that he had caught a freshwater stingray that was “much bigger” than any he had ever encountered.
Her sheer size even made him suspect that she was an entirely different species.
When Wonders of the Mekong arrived at Koh Preah, they confirmed that the stingray was in good health. Her weight, which set a new world record, even left them in shock.
Unlike Moul Thun’s suspicions, researchers identified the ray’s species to be that of the common ones often found in the river.
Channel NewsAsia (CNA) added that this discovery was not just about breaking a world record.
Explaining that the waterway there has been facing some “environmental challenges”, they quoted Wonders of the Mekong leader Zeb Hogan who said that,
The fact that the fish can still get this big is a hopeful sign for the Mekong River.
According to National Geographic, scientists named the stingray Boramy, or “full moon” in the Khmer language, drawing inspiration from her bulbous shape.
After the discovery, researchers reportedly removed the stingray from the water temporarily to weight and measure her. They subsequently tagged her electronically to track her movements and behaviour.
The team eventually released her back into the river on Tuesday (14 Jun).
Following the incident, the research team established a network of fishermen whom they encourage to report notable catches like stingrays and other endangered fish.
Although Cambodian fishermen can legally catch stingrays, they rarely do so as they don’t consider stingrays ‘good food fish’.
However, rays can sometimes get hooked accidentally, just like what happened to Boramy.
As land dwellers, we may forget about the many creatures that live in the sea.
Such lucky catches serve to remind us of the of diverse marine wildlife around us.
Considering how rare this one is, we’re glad that the fishermen and researches released it back into the river.
Hopefully, the discovery will help us appreciate and respect our biodiversity more.
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