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British angler catches rare giant stingray

By Richard Savill

Last Updated: 6:01pm BST 25/06/2008

A British angler has caught a rare giant freshwater stingray - possibly the largest freshwater fish species in the world - during a visit to Thailand's remote rivers.

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Recent catches have led anglers to believe the protected giant freshwater stingray may be thriving in Thailand

Ian Welch and four colleagues spent 45 minutes battling the 6ft wide and 14ft long fish, which was too big to weigh but was estimated to be about 23 stones.

"When we got it to the surface I could not comprehend that something that size existed," said Mr Welch, 45, a doctor in freshwater biology, from Aldershot, Hants. "It was as big as a snooker table."

Mr Welch caught the fish with a large rod normally used for tuna or marlin.

It "bent over double" and the boat moved around in circles as he reeled it in.

After bringing it to the surface the party towed it to the shore to measure it before releasing it back into the Maeklong River.


The Giant Freshwater Stingray is listed as a vulnerable species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's red list.

However, a number of recent catches have been reported in rarely explored parts of the river systems in Thailand, prompting anglers to believe the population is thriving.
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