It's the Biggest Freshwater Fish Ever Recorded

Giant stingray in Cambodia weighs in at 661 pounds
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2022 7:19 AM CDT
That's One Huge, Record-Setting Stingray
A man touches a giant freshwater stingray before being released back into the Mekong River in the northeastern province of Stung Treng, Cambodia, on June 14.   (Chhut Chheana/Wonders of the Mekong via AP)

(Newser) – Researchers say they've encountered the largest freshwater fish ever documented—a giant stingray stretching 13 feet long, more than 7 feet wide, and weighing some 661 pounds. "In 20 years of researching giant fish in rivers and lakes on six continents, this is the largest freshwater fish that we've encountered or that's been documented anywhere worldwide," says biologist Zeb Hogan of the Wonders of the Mekong conservation project, who is also a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, per the BBC. Pulled from the Mekong River in Cambodia, the stingray bests the previous record holder, a 646-pound giant catfish, caught in the same river in northern Thailand in 2005.

The conservation project, aligned with the Cambodian Fisheries Administration, encourages fishers to report catches of giant or endangered fish. On June 13, researchers got a call from 42-year-old Moul Thun, who claimed to have accidentally caught an extra large giant stingray, which is also an endangered species, on Koh Preah island, per the BBC and National Geographic. CNN reports it took "around a dozen men" to bring the apparently healthy female giant stingray to shore. She was studied, implanted with an acoustic tag that will notify researchers about her movements, behavior, and whether she gives birth, then released back into the river.

She's been given the name "Boramy," or "full moon" in the Khmer language "because the round-looking fish was released during a full moon," per NatGeo. The name is often applied to a beautiful female, per the outlet. "Finding and documenting this fish is remarkable, and a rare positive sign of hope, even more so because it occurred in the Mekong, a river that's currently facing many challenges," including overfishing and pollution, says Hogan. "When record fish are found, it means the aquatic environment is still relatively healthy." It was the second giant freshwater stingray researchers had analyzed since May. The first was about 400 pounds, per the BBC. (Read more world record stories.)

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