Catfish, Mekong (Pangasianadon Gigas)
The Giant Mekong Catfish is restricted in its range to the Mekong River and its tributaries in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
This highly endangered monster freshwater species is a strong contender for the largest freshwater fish in the world. Commercial fishing for the Mekong Catfish in the Mekong River has now been banned in Thailand due to the highly endangered status that this fish holds.
The Mekong Catfish has been previously netted at incredible weights approaching 300 kg’s but sadly specimens of this size are becoming extremely rare due to commercial fishing and the construction of Hydro Electric Dams blocking its migratory routes.
The Giant Mekong Catfish in Thailand is an extremely muscular freshwater monster fish with a sleek shark-like appearance and colouration ranging between silver and grey.
This monster catfish species reaches lengths of over 4 metres and is found in some of the wildest and remote waters in Thailand.
This monster catfish in the wild subsists predominantly on a diet of zoo plankton and filamentous algae and is believed to be cannibalistic in its infancy and possibly continues to feed opportunistically on live and dead fish in maturity.
The Mekong Catfish is easily distinguished by its total lack of barbels and huge gaping mouth and has a huge rudder like tail with large sharp and bony pectoral fins which display a grey to orange colouration.
This heavy weight Thailand Megafish has a complete absence of teeth in its mouth which is lined with Velcro-like crushing pads which it uses to grind vegetation.
The Giant Mekong Catfish has a smooth shark-like body without scales and is quite possibly the hardest fighting freshwater fish on the planet pound for pound.
The Mekong Catfish in Thailand is an extremely hardy and robust freshwater monster fish which is capable of exerting massive of amounts of power and endurance that regularly tests anglers to their absolute physical limits.
Very little scientific information is available concerning this critically endangered Megafish species due to the wild and remote locations it inhabits.
The Mekong Catfish has been the subject of extensive and ground breaking research in recent years spear headed by eminent Thai fish biologist Dr. Chavalit Vidthayanon and Dr.Zeb Hogan from the National Geographic society.
Emerging National Geographic explorer Dr.Zeb Hogan has been instrumental in bringing the highly endangered Mekong Catfish’s precarious position to the attention of the Thai authorities and the rest of the world and has initiated a tagging program on the Mekong River in Thailand.
Dr. Zeb Hogan and Dr. Chavalit Vidthayanon continue to study and protect this most amazing and endangered of monster fish species and monitor the rapidly disappearing Mekong Catfish population in the wildest and most inaccessible areas of the Mekong River in Thailand.
Very little is known about the breeding habits and movements of the Mekong Catfish in the Mekong River with very few specimens of this amazing mega fish being caught in preceding years before the fishing ban on the Mekong River was implemented.
Catch data collected in recent years appears to show that the wild Mekong Catfish population in Thailand has rapidly decreased in the past 14 years by as much as eighty percent.
The government of Thailand and the Department of Fisheries in 2006 implemented emergency measures to protect this rapidly disappearing and endangered monster fish species and reached an agreement with a group of sixty traditional Mekong Catfish fishermen to stop commercially netting for the critically endangered Mekong Catfish.
At the time of writing Thailand is the only country in the world that allows fishing for privately stocked Mekong Catfish in commercial fishing lakes and ponds.
The government in Thailand has established extensive breeding and restocking programs in both the Mekong River in Northern Thailand and Chaophraya River with a view to re-establishing this monster freshwater fish species back into its wild and natural habitat.
Although critically endangered in its wild and natural environment the Mekong catfish is to be found in most of Thailand’s commercial fisheries reaching gigantic weights to over 150kg’s.
The Mekong Catfish in Thailand is an extremely powerful and muscular freshwater species which is famous for its hard fighting qualities with fishing enthusiasts from across the globe and rates as one of the hardest fighting freshwater fish in the world.