Giant Catfish Caught in Cambodia

From National Geographic News.

Captured just before midnight on November 13 by fishers in Cambodia, this Mekong giant catfish is 8 feet long (2.4 meters long) ands weighs 450 pounds (204 kilograms).

"This is the only giant catfish that has been caught this year so far, making it the worst year on record for catch of giant fish species," said Zeb Hogan (far right), a fisheries biologist at the University of Reno in Nevada.

After collecting data on the fish, Hogan released it unharmed.

Giant catfish were once plentiful throughout Southeast Asia's Mekong River watershed, including the Tonle Sap River—home of the fish in these exclusive pictures taken near Phnom Penh.

But in the last century the Mekong giant catfish population has declined by 95 to 99 percent, scientists say. Only a few hundred adult giant catfish may remain.

Earlier this year Hogan launched the three-year Megafishes Project to document the world's giant freshwater fish.

Listed as critically endangered by the World Conservation Union, the Mekong giant catfish is big but toothless, as shown in this exclusive photo.

"For the Mekong giant catfish, northern Thailand is a spawning ground, whereas the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia is a rearing area," said U.S. biologist Zeb Hogan, who studied the fish pictured for his Megafishes Project, which is documenting the world's giant freshwater fish.


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