Giant stingray in Cambodia lands Guinness record for largest freshwater fish ever caught

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A giant stingray, recorded as the world’s largest freshwater fish, was caught on June 13 by fishermen in the Stung Treng region of northern Cambodia.

The female Urogymnus polylepis giant freshwater stingray weighed about 300 kg and was 3.98 m long including tail. The incredible fish, also called a whipray, was 2.2 meters long.

The largest freshwater fish

(Photo: Photo: Guinness World Records / Twitter)

The record-breaking giant stingray, which belongs to an endangered species, was given the name Boramy because it means “full moon” in Khmer and because of its rounded disc-like shape and l early evening release time.

The measurements were carried out by a group of international ichthyologists as part of the US-Cambodian project “Wonders of the Mekong”, in cooperation with the Cambodian fisheries administration, despite the fact that the findings were made by locals.

Dana Lee, a fisheries biologist at FISHBIO, was one of the researchers who helped measure this river monster. According to Lee, it was a magical moment to first catch a glimpse of the huge stingray as it was dragged from the depths. He said that in his mind, the Mekong has always been a bit of a mythical place, and that this creature was almost like the river personified.

As well as hosting the Monster Fish TV show, Dr. Zeb Hogan, giant fish specialist and director of the “Wonders of the Mekong” initiative, also shares the same sentiment.

Hogan said it’s a remarkable find that justifies efforts to learn more about the mysteries surrounding this species and the amazing stretch of river where it lives.

Hogan goes on to say that although fishermen in Cambodia claim to have encountered stingrays weighing up to 500kg, these claims have never been confirmed. The fact that the “Wonders of the Mekong” team was nearby, that the fishermen alerted them, and that the ray was tagged and released are so lucky.

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Previous gigantic records

This is not the first world record to come from the enigmatic and uncharted waterways of mainland Southeast Asia.

The previous record holder for the largest freshwater fish was a 293kg, 2.7m long giant Mekong catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) discovered in another section of the Mekong in June 2005.

As it is currently too close to be called, the giant Mekong catfish and the giant freshwater stingray share the record for the largest freshwater fish species.

Other record contenders include the dog-eating catfish, also known as the paron shark, a closely related catfish (Pangasius sanitwongsei).

Outside Southeast Asia, the arapaima (Arapaima gigas) of South America is thought to grow to a length of up to 4.5m, which is longer than the Mekong megafish, but weighs only about 200 kg instead.

Modification of the held file

The Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius), a former top competitor that was once native to the Yangtze River basin, has reached a confirmed length of 3 meters and a verified weight of 300 kilograms, although much larger and unconfirmed specimens have been reported as long as 7 meters and weighing 450 kilograms.

Nevertheless, this species was officially recognized as extinct in 2020. It is likely that it disappeared between 2005 and 2010 due to overfishing and habitat loss. As a result, it currently holds the unfortunate record of being the most recent extinction of freshwater fish.

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