Final yr, a fisher caught the world’s largest freshwater fish, a Mekong large stingray, within the Mekong River in Cambodia. After monitoring the fish for a yr, researchers are publishing analysis concerning the mysterious species.

In June 2022, in a distant location in Cambodia, a fisher reeled in a large large freshwater stingray. The fisher contacted researchers from the USAID-funded Wonders of the Mekong mission, a mission aimed towards defending the distinctive Mekong River, the fish that occupy the river and the fishing communities that depend on the well being and productiveness of the river.

Upon arriving to the location of the record-breaking catch, the Wonders of the Mekong group connected an acoustic monitoring machine to the fish. The mission had been engaged on deploying monitoring expertise that allows the researchers to review the motion of fish and the place they reside, and the enormous stingray was the primary fish to be fitted with the machine.

The College of Nevada, Reno’s World Water Heart is a part of the worldwide collaborative Wonders of the Mekong mission. College students and school from the World Water Heart have traveled to Cambodia many instances to assist analysis initiatives, acquire knowledge and launch fish.

The elusive large freshwater stingray has been listed as endangered by the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature, however in Cambodian components of the Mekong River, populations of the fish appear to be comparatively secure. Nonetheless, the species faces threats from habitat fragmentation by potential development of hydropower dams, air pollution and overfishing. The Cambodian authorities lately proposed establishing the Mekong River as a UNESCO World Heritage Website which might bolster conservation efforts.

Now, after gathering knowledge for a yr, Wonders of the Mekong researchers are publishing their work in a particular concern of Water, a peer-reviewed, open entry journal. This concern, titled “Endangered Fish, Rivers at Danger: Spatial Features of Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation,” will function three articles from the Wonders of the Mekong group.

“The data we’re studying concerning the stingray and different critically endangered fish is essential not solely to our efforts to make sure the survival of the world’s largest freshwater fish, but additionally the preservation of an space of nice fisheries manufacturing that gives meals for thousands and thousands of individuals,” says Zeb Hogan, a biology professor on the College of Nevada, Reno, who leads the Wonders of the Mekong analysis mission that initiated the research.

The primary analysis article shares knowledge concerning the actions of practically 300 fish within the Mekong River that symbolize 27 species, together with the enormous freshwater stingray, and the way the constructing of proposed hydropower dams on the Mekong River may have an effect on the fish and the impacts of designating the Mekong River in Cambodia as a UNESCO World Heritage web site may have on the area.

The second article is a evaluate that compiles all of the recognized details about the enormous freshwater stingray. The analysis consists of interviews with native fishers who’ve reported even bigger fish than the record-breaking fish caught final June. There may be the likelihood that there’s a totally different species of freshwater stingray, however extra analysis must be performed. The evaluate highlights how understudied the fish is.

The third analysis article discusses how monitoring info will be helpful in designating fish reserves for conservation of the Mekong large freshwater stingray. Utilizing the acoustic monitoring info, researchers present that the enormous freshwater stingray they tagged sometimes stayed throughout the similar deep pool of water, which means that the institution of fish reserves may very well be essential for the fish.

The analysis collected concerning the large freshwater stingray will contribute to coverage selections made concerning the Mekong River, serving to to guard the fish and folks that depend on the Mekong.

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