World’s biggest freshwater fish tracking supplies Wonders of the Mekong researchers with a lot more information and facts about the mysterious species

Final year, a fisher caught the world’s biggest freshwater fish, a Mekong giant stingray, in the Mekong River in Cambodia. Immediately after tracking the fish for a year, researchers are publishing analysis about the mysterious species.

In June 2022, in a remote place in Cambodia, a fisher reeled in a enormous giant freshwater stingray. The fisher contacted researchers from the USAID-funded Wonders of the Mekong project, a project aimed toward guarding the exclusive Mekong River, the fish that occupy the river and the fishing communities that rely on the well being and productivity of the river.

Upon arriving to the web-site of the record-breaking catch, the Wonders of the Mekong group attached an acoustic tracking device to the fish. The project had been functioning on deploying tracking technologies that enables the researchers to study the movement of fish and exactly where they reside, and the giant stingray was the 1st fish to be fitted with the device.

The University of Nevada, Reno’s International Water Center is aspect of the international collaborative Wonders of the Mekong project. Students and faculty from the International Water Center have traveled to Cambodia lots of occasions to help analysis projects, gather information and release fish.

The elusive giant freshwater stingray has been listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, but in Cambodian components of the Mekong River, populations of the fish look to be comparatively steady. Nevertheless, the species faces threats from habitat fragmentation by possible building of hydropower dams, pollution and overfishing. The Cambodian government lately proposed establishing the Mekong River as a UNESCO Globe Heritage Website which would bolster conservation efforts.

Now, just after collecting information for a year, Wonders of the Mekong researchers are publishing their function in a particular challenge of Water, a peer-reviewed, open access journal. This challenge, titled “Endangered Fish, Rivers at Threat: Spatial Elements of Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation,” will function 3 articles from the Wonders of the Mekong group.

“The information and facts we are understanding about the stingray and other critically endangered fish is important not only to our efforts to make certain the survival of the world’s biggest freshwater fish, but also the preservation of an location of fantastic fisheries production that supplies meals for millions of persons,” says Zeb Hogan, a biology professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, who leads the Wonders of the Mekong analysis project that initiated the study.

The 1st analysis write-up shares information about the movements of almost 300 fish in the Mekong River that represent 27 species, such as the giant freshwater stingray, and how the creating of proposed hydropower dams on the Mekong River could impact the fish and the impacts of designating the Mekong River in Cambodia as a UNESCO Globe Heritage web-site could have on the area.

The second write-up is a evaluation that compiles all the recognized information and facts about the giant freshwater stingray. The analysis incorporates interviews with neighborhood fishers who have reported even bigger fish than the record-breaking fish caught final June. There is the possibility that there is a various species of freshwater stingray, but a lot more analysis desires to be carried out. The evaluation highlights how understudied the fish is.

The third analysis write-up discusses how tracking information and facts can be valuable in designating fish reserves for conservation of the Mekong giant freshwater stingray. Employing the acoustic tracking information and facts, researchers show that the giant freshwater stingray they tagged commonly stayed inside the similar deep pool of water, which means that the establishment of fish reserves could be vital for the fish.

The analysis collected about the giant freshwater stingray will contribute to policy choices produced about the Mekong River, assisting to defend the fish and persons that rely on the Mekong.

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