Giant Mekong catfish released in Cambodia


Four captive raised Giant Mekong catfish have been released into the wild in ceremony in Cambodia.

The Giant catfish, Pangasius (formerly Pangasianodon) gigas, is the biggest catfish in the world as well as one of the largest of all freshwater fishes. However, it's also becoming very rare and has been classed as critically endangered on the most recent IUCN Redlist of fishes.

The four fish released were babies at just under 150cm/5' long and weighed in at around 99-110 lbs, according to The Guardian. Adults can reach twice this size.

The fish were originally purchased as babies from a fisherman and kept in a pond. Nine of them died, but the remaining four grew well and were donated by the owner to the World Wildlife Foundation.

According to a report from the BBC, the populations of P. gigas in the Mekong have fallen by 90% over the past 20 years due to overfishing, pollution and dam-building.

The release of the catfish generated a lot of publicity for the project and it is hoped that authorities will take action against protecting the species from such dangers.

Director General of the World Wildlife Foundation, Claude Martin, told the BBC: "I don't think the four fish we have released today will make a big contribution to the viability of that population.

"It is certainly a species which is very vulnerable because it is a migratory species and many of the migratory species today are affected by the river system, particularly dams."