The Wonders of the Mekong project and the National Fisheries Administration – in collaboration with the Fisheries Administration in Stung Treng province – released 100 endangered fish into the Mekong River on May 16, said a Fisheries Administration official.

Srey Sam Vichet, head of the provincial Fisheries Administration, told The Post that 30 Mekong giant barbs and 70 striped catfish were released into the Anlong Conservation Area in Sras village, Koh Preah commune of Stung Treng province’s Siem Bok district.

“Both species are rare and listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. We expect our programme to increase fish stocks, particularly of these species,” he said.

The Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute said that four of the giant barbs were adults and weighed up to 68kg, while the remaining 26 were immature examples. The giant barb can grow up to 300kg.

Wonders of the Mekong project manager Chea Seila said tracking devices were fitted to 14 of the giant barbs, to monitor their migration patterns.

“We also fitted numbered tags to all of them. We tagged most of the catfish as well, but did not fit many trackers,” she added.

She called on fishermen to exercise increased caution and join the Wonders of the Mekong project in protecting and conserving the rare species.

“If they catch one of these fish, they should release them as soon as possible. If this is not possible and the fish have died, they must report the death to the project team or fisheries officials, so the specimen can be examined,” she said.

“The release of these fish has two main objectives. We want the public to learn about the rare and endangered species that are present in Cambodia, and we want to increase the natural stocks of these remarkable fish,” she concluded.