A freshwater fish weighing almost 300kg, more than an adult male lion, was caught by fishermen in the Mekong River. This is the largest catfish ever recorded and has earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest freshwater fish ever caught.
The fish, a Mekong giant catfish, is Southeast Asia’s rarest catfish and is a declining species facing extinction. After the fish was caught an attempt was made to release it so that it could spawn, but it later died and was eaten by the villagers.
Dr Zeb Hogan, who is studying all freshwater fish over 180cm and/or 90kg for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the National Geographic Society, said, “My study of giant freshwater fish is showing a clear and global pattern: the largest fish species are disappearing.”
More extremely large fish species swim in the Mekong River than anywhere else on earth. Fish worth US$1.7 billion are caught in the river annually, and 73 million people use the fish in the river as a major protein source.