Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mekong giant catfish released

Mekong giant catfish released

Mekong giant catfish released

Ing Vannath didn't recognize the four Mekong giant catfish fry he snared seven years

ago along with about 1,500 other similar species until he had raised them for a year

in his pond.

The endangered fish look the same as regular catfish as young fry but can reach a

length of 3 meters and weigh 300 kg at maturity.

Mekong giant catfish are considered a sign of good luck and prosperity. Over the

years they have earned Vannath both.

The lucky fish also earned him a certificate of appreciation from the World Wildlife

Fund and the Department of Fisheries for his decision to return them to their natural

habitat.

On June 15, the four giant fish - now weighing about 50 kg each and measuring 1.5

m from head to tail - were released at the junction of the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers

in a ceremony presided over by Dr. Claude Martin, director general of WWF, and Chan

Sarun, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Martin said the release was a symbolic gesture, as he didn't think four fish would

make a big contribution to the wild population.

The Mekong giant catfish is listed as a critically endangered species. Scientists

estimate that its numbers have fallen by about 90 percent in the past two decades.

Threats to the catfish include dam construction, river navigation projects and over-fishing.

The Mekong giant catfish is a flagship species of the Living Mekong Programme, a

designation reserved for species which represent the biodiversity of an area. While

some might not see the charm in an enormous bottom feeding fish whose eyes are below

the level of its mouth, the fact that it is the largest freshwater fish in the world

is appealing to some.

Generally, giant catfish bred in captivity and released to the wild do not reproduce

or survive well. Nevertheless, Vannath's four have been tagged in the hope of monitoring

their progress.

The event caused a splash with the media when a boat containing about 15 photographers

overturned, sending them and their expensive equipment into the murky depths. At

least one camera joined the released catfish at the bottom of the river.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea