4-meter-long manta ray appears in Cambodia

4-meter-long manta ray appears in Cambodia

The skate was returned to the water after being measured and weighed. (Photo: AFP)

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Cambodian fishermen caught in the mekong river a giant stingray four meters long and weighing 180 kilos, one of the largest freshwater fish in the world.

The freshwater stingraythreatened by overfishing, pollution and habitat loss, is a protected species and was returned to the water after being measured and weighed by scientists from the project “Wonders of the Mekong” (Wonders of the Mekong), present in the place.

The ray was accidentally caught last week in Stung Treng province (north), having swallowed a smaller fish that had taken the fishermen’s hook.

The Mekong, one of the longest rivers in Asia (4,350 kilometers long), is home to the most important aquatic biodiversity in the world after the Amazon, with more than a thousand species of fish.

hidden treasures

Specimens such as the giant catfish, which can reach three meters and weigh up to 300 kilos, also inhabit its waters.

The river, which reaches 80 meters deep in some places, could host even larger varieties, according to scientists.

It is full of “hidden and invisible ecosystems,” says Zeb Hogan, an American biologist at the University of Nevada and director of the US-funded “Wonders of Mekong” project.

Vital for the survival of millions of people in Southeast Asia, the Mekong and its fauna are threatened by the dozens of dams built by China, Laos and Cambodia on the river and its tributaries.

Contamination is another concern.

Plastic debris was detected even in the deepest parts of the river, as well as “ghost nets” lost or abandoned by fishermen, in which fish can get trapped.

jrr

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