Giant Fishes in Mekong River Threatened

AKP Phnom Penh, October 01, 2019 —

Different species of giant fishes in Mekong River, including Aaptosyax grypus, Pangasianodon gigas, Pangasius sanitwongsei, Probarbus jullieni, Wallago micropogon and Catocarpio siamensis may be extinct, according to an abstract of a research thesis produced by Royal University of Phnom Penh graduates recently awarded the degree of Masters of Science in Biodiversity Conservation.

The abstract released in the Cambodian Journal of Natural History said pressures on freshwater biodiversity in Southeast Asia are accelerating and the conservation needs of threatened megafauna in the Mekong River remain unclear.

“Catches of large-bodied fish in the Cambodian section of the river have declined at a much greater rate than small-bodied fish and species such as Mekong giant salmon carp Aaptosyax grypus may already be extinct,” it added.

The populations of other species such as Mekong giant catfish Pangasianodon gigas and giant pangasius Pangasius sanitwongsei are also likely to be declining, it stressed.

Fishers have been interviewed to obtain local ecological knowledge and determine population trends for seven megafish species in northern Cambodia over the last 20 years.

On overall, this thesis results indicated that the perceived population status of all species has declined at varying rates from 1998 to present.

It suggested that the Mekong giant catfish is the rarest species and this taxon had the greatest variation in estimate data. The populations and body size of the giant pangasius also decreased greatly. The three most common species were the seven-striped barb Probarbus jullieni, Wallago micropogon and giant barb Catocarpio siamensis, with mean dates for last capture of five months before present.

(Photo: Fisheries Administration)

By Khan Sophirom