Massive Stingray Catch Sparks Hope for Freshwater Giants

Jul 27, 2023

A fisherman pulled a huge, UFO-like stingray out of a river last year! It wasn't quite as big as a whale, but it had some scientists making comparisons.

“Imagine an era where whale populations are in broad decline … and then, all of a sudden, Moby Dick appears,” Zeb Hogan, an aquatic ecologist, told the New York Times. “It’s a shock and also opens the door to so many questions.”

The stingray is called “Boramy." She weighs 661 pounds. Boramy is the largest freshwater fish ever caught! But it wasn’t just her size that stunned biologists. They were amazed she was even found at all.

Giant freshwater stingrays are highly endangered. So are nearly a third of all freshwater fish species. Bigger species like Boramy’s are even more at risk. 94% of freshwater fish species that average over 66 pounds have seen population declines in the last 50 years. That's mostly due to overfishing, pollution, and habitat loss.

Boramy, though, has provided some hope. She was tagged and released. Scientists are studying her. They're hoping to learn how to better protect other big freshwater fish.

Hogan said the find is helping scientists feel more positive about their ability to save the stingray. He added that efforts to save the stingray could help other species too. 

Photo from Reuters.

Reflect: Why is it important to protect endangered species and what can we do to help them survive and thrive in their habitats?

Based on the details in the story, what has caused the decline in fish species that average over 66 pounds? (Common Core RI.5.3; RI.6.3)
a. changes in the moon's phases affecting fish reproduction
b. increased river pollution affecting fish habitats
c. overfishing
d. B and C
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