Nine foot Giant pangasius catfish caught

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One of the largest ever recorded Giant catfishes has been caught by fishermen in Thailand.

The Giant Mekong catfish, Pangasius (Pangasianodon) gigas, weighed in at 646 lbs/293 kg - that's about the same weight as five St Bernard dogs, or 7.69 Kylie Minogues - and measured just under nine feet in length.

Zeb Hogan, who is involved in a World Wildlife Fund and National Geographic Society project looking at some of the world's largest freshwater fish species said: "We've now confirmed now that this catfish is the current record holder, an astonishing find.

"It's amazing to think that giants like this still swim in some of the world's rivers.

I'm thrilled that we've set a new record, but we need to put this discovery in context: these giant fish are uniformly poorly studied and some are critically endangered."

"My study of giant freshwater fish is showing a clear and global pattern: the largest fish species are disappearing. The challenge is clear - we must find methods to protect these species and their habitats. By acting now, we can save animals like the Mekong giant catfish from extinction."

The captors attempted to release the giant catfish, which is an adult male, so it could continue its spawning migration upriver towards the Golden Triangle - the border of Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, and China, but unfortunately the fish died. It was later cooked and eaten by the fishermen.

Prior to its death it was stripped of its milt (sperm) so it gametes can be used in a captive breeding programme.

According to the Guiness Book of World Records, P. gigas, is the largest known freshwater fish species.

A number of related species do sometimes appear in the aquarium trade, but none of them make sensible additions to the aquarium.

We would strongly advise avoiding Pangasius sanitwongsei and P. hypophthalmus (formerly sutchi) should you see them for sale, as they can reach around 2m/6'6" and 120cm/4' respectively.