Cambodian villagers have caught the world’s biggest freshwater fish ever recorded, according to researchers.

Driving the news: A 661-pound stingray was caught in the Mekong river in Cambodia, setting a new record for the largest freshwater fish ever caught.

  • The stingray beat out the previous record-holder from 2005, a 646-pound Mekong giant catfish that was caught in Thailand, by 15 pounds, per BBC News.

What they’re saying: Zeb Hogan, a fish biologist and leader of the USAID-funded Wonders of the Mekong project, says the catch “highlights how little we know about a lot of these giant freshwater fish,” NBC News reported. “You have a fish that’s now the record holder for the world’s largest freshwater fish, and we know little about it.”

  • Hogan, who used to host National Geographic’s show “Monster Fish,” went on to describe the extraordinary circumstances of the catch, saying “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,” per BBC News.
A team of Cambodian and American scientists and researchers, along with Fisheries Administration officials prepare to release a giant freshwater stingray back into the Mekong River.
A team of Cambodian and American scientists and researchers, along with Fisheries Administration officials prepare to release a giant freshwater stingray back into the Mekong river in the northeastern province of Stung Treng, Cambodia on June 14, 2022. A local fisherman caught the 661-pound stingray, which set the record for the world’s largest known freshwater fish and earned him a $600 reward. ( | Chhut Chheanal, Wonders of the Mekong via Associated Press
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Details: The 13-foot female stingray was electronically tagged before being released back into the river, allowing scientists to study her movement and behavior in the future, CNN reported.

  • Scientists deemed the stingray healthy following its release and expect it to survive on its own, according to NBC News.
  • According to National Geographic, studies show that “global populations of freshwater megafauna have declined twice as much as vertebrate populations on land or in the oceans, leaving many giant fish species critically endangered.”
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