The biggest freshwater fish ever recorded — a 661-pound female stingray named Boramy (“full moon” in the Khemer language) — has been caught by villagers in Cambodia.
It took around a dozen men to haul the 13-foot fish to shore.
Boramy was netted last week off Koh Preah, an island along the northern Cambodian stretch of the river. After being electronically tagged to allow scientists to monitor her movement and behavior, Boramy was released back into the river.
“This is very exciting news because it was the world’s largest [freshwater] fish,” said biologist Zeb Hogan, the former host of Monster Fish on National Geographic who is now part of Wonders of the Mekong, a conservation project on the river. “It is also exciting news because it means that this stretch of the Mekong is still healthy…. It is a sign of hope that these huge fish still live [here].”
After a fisherman hooked the stingray — an endangered species — he contacted Wonders of the Mekong, which helped tag and release Boramy.
The previous world record was held by a 645-pound giant catfish that was caught upstream in northern Thailand in 2005.
The Mekong has the third-most diverse fish population in the world, according to its River Commission — though overfishing, pollution, saltwater intrusion and sediment depletion have caused stocks to plummet.
According to Wonders of the Mekong, stingrays in particular have faced mass death events despite conservation measures in place, including fishing restrictions and river guards.
For more information on Wonders of the Mekong, visit www.usaid.gov.