Large stingray catch places highlight on Mekong biodiversity

Native fishermen stand with a rescued 180-kilogram and 4-meter lengthy large freshwater stingray hooked by a fisherman’s web on the Mekong River, in Stung Treng province, Cambodia Might 5, 2022. Image taken Might 5, 2022. College of Nevada/Handout through REUTERS

A workforce of marine biologists have welcomed the invention of an endangered large freshwater stingray throughout a current expedition to a distant stretch of the Mekong River in Cambodia, although they warned the biodiversity of the realm was beneath menace.

The stingray was by chance caught by fishermen in an 80-metre (260 ft) deep pool within the Mekong in Cambodia’s northeastern Stung Treng province and the visiting scientists helped return the animal alive.

Zeb Hogan, a fish biologist on the College of Nevada, mentioned discovering the 180 kg (397 lb) stingray, spanning 4 metres, was necessary.

“This catch was vital as a result of it confirms the existence of those large fish within the stretch of river,” mentioned Hogan, who led the USAID-funded Wonders of the Mekong expedition that wrapped up final week.

“This can be a very distant stretch of river, it isn’t nicely studied, it is extremely necessary for fisheries and biodiversity, and it is also a stretch of river that’s beneath menace,” he mentioned.

The workforce used unmanned submersibles outfitted with lights and cameras as a part of its efforts to review the deep swimming pools within the space.

This a part of the river may undergo “devastating ecological results” if proposed hydropower dams go forward within the space, an announcement from the expedition workforce mentioned. Different threats embrace unlawful fishing and plastic waste.

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Hogan, who’s been learning the biodiversity within the Mekong for greater than twenty years, mentioned the declining inhabitants of some freshwater fish within the river was very worrying.

“Traditionally, this part of river produced 200 billion younger fish that then throughout the floods season disperse all through all of Cambodia and even into Vietnam,” Hogan mentioned.