The large Mekong is an important habitat for an unlimited array of species giant and small. Photograph by AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy
Cambodian fishermen on the Mekong River acquired a shock after they inadvertently hooked an endangered big freshwater stingray 4 meters lengthy and weighing 180 kilos, scientists mentioned on Wednesday.
The feminine leviathan, considered one of Southeast Asia’s largest and rarest species of fish, was caught by chance final week in Stung Treng province when it swallowed a smaller fish that had taken a baited hook.
A global workforce of specialists on the US-funded Wonders of the Mekong undertaking labored with the fishermen to unhook the ray earlier than weighing and measuring it and returning it unhurt to the river.
The large Mekong is an important habitat for an unlimited array of species giant and small, however undertaking chief Zeb Hogan, a fish biologist from the College of Nevada, mentioned the river’s underwater ecosystem was poorly understood.
“They’re unseen worlds, underappreciated and out of sight,” he mentioned in an announcement issued by his college.
Greater than 1,000 fish species name the Mekong house and the stingray isn’t the one big lurking within the muddy waters — the large catfish and big barb additionally attain as much as three meters lengthy and 270 kilos in weight.
The research group mentioned within the assertion that the distant location the place the ray was caught has swimming pools as much as 80 meters deep and will harbor even larger specimens.
However additionally they warned that underwater video footage confirmed plastic waste even within the deepest stretches of the Mekong, together with “ghost nets” — deserted by fishers however nonetheless capable of snare fish.
Environmentalists have lengthy voiced considerations about dam constructing alongside the Mekong River that may destroy fish shares
The well-known waterway begins in China and twists south by components of Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam, feeding 60 million individuals by its basin and tributaries.