Return of Mekong giant salmon carp raises hopes

The Phnom Penh Post –

A team of scientists were stunned when a rare species of fish – previously considered extinct in Cambodian waters – was caught by a fisherman near the Sesan II hydropower dam in Stung Treng province.

Thach Panara, head of the Laboratory, Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute under the Fisheries Administration, told The Post that no examples of the Mekong giant salmon carp (Aaptosyax grypus) had been found in the Kingdom’s waterways in more than two decades. The administration’s fisheries resource team had supposed the fish extinct. The July 2 catch caught the team by surprise.

He said: “1999 was the last recorded sighting of the giant salmon carp in Cambodia. We did not expect to see their return.”

Panara said the giant salmon carp weighed 6kg, but unfortunately had died. The carcass was still a valuable resource for research, however. Scientists would thoroughly examine it for clues about the lifestyle of this rare species.

“We are sorry it’s dead, but it’s still important for us as scientists. This may indicate that they are still present in the freshwaters of Cambodia,” he added.

Panara told The Post that samples taken from the fish are currently being examined at his laboratory to determine whether the specimen was a pure giant salmon carp or a genetically engineered fish.

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