TV nature conservationist Jeff Corwin made the news this week when he reeled in what’s reportedly the biggest freshwater fish ever. Corwin and a team of fishermen – yes, a team – pulled in a truly massive stingray, one weighing in at over 800 pounds.
The gargantuan stingray is 14 feet long and eight feet wide, and Corwin couldn’t bring it in by himself. According to The Daily Mail, it took Corwin and a team of several men nearly two hours to bring in the gigantic beastie. The team worked in shifts to land the stingray, and it took seven full-grown men to lift it out of the water so that it could be measured.
potential world record freshwater fish, giant stingray, 14ft X 8ft! in Thailand filming for ABC’s Ocean Mysteries pic.twitter.com/BpBu1zE1Cb
— Jeff Corwin (@iamjeffcorwin) March 12, 2015
At 14×8 and weighing an estimated 800 pounds, the stingray is thought to be the largest freshwater fish ever hauled in, dwarfing the previous record holder, a 660-pound Mekong giant catfish. Corwin’s haul is almost three times the weight of another giant catfish landed by fisherman Dino Ferrari in Italy earlier this year.
The previous record for a freshwater stingray was 693 pounds. As National Geographic notes, though, unconfirmed reports have claimed stingrays as big as 1,100 to 1,300 pounds.
Corwin’s massive stingray catch came as part of the biologist’s work in Thailand, where he is filming for ABC‘s Ocean Mysteries. This particular stingray was actually hauled in by biologists before, and they have been keeping track of it for some time. The size of the stingray at this latest capture indicates that the species – which is endangered – is actually doing better than it has in the past.
“The latest capture indicates that these stingrays are growing at a fast and healthy rate,” one fishing guide told the press.
While they may look fierce, stingrays are usually peaceful and won’t attack divers unless they feel threatened. Stingray attacks on humans typically occur when a human accidentally steps on a resting stingray. The stingray’s appearance, though – combined with the role the species played in the death of TV personality Steve Irwin – leads many to unnecessarily fear the creatures.
In fact, stingrays are usually so docile that many companies offer packages allowing tourists to swim with or feed stingrays. Marine biologists have even speculated that stingrays can be trained to follow simple commands, as appears to have been the case in one video showing a stingray climbing out of the water in order to grab food from a tourist in the Maldives.
[Lead image via National Geographic.]