National Geographic : 2011 Mar
Megafish study site NORTH AMERICA SOUTH AMERICA AUSTRALIA ASIA AFRICA EUROPE PHOTO: ROB TAYLOR. NGM MAPS I'VE LOVED WATER ever since I was little. I grew up in Arizona, where you learn how precious it is. I get into the water a lot for my work. I'm not always as careful as I should be about the water I get into---dirty, shallow, or deep---as long as there is a big fish in it. As a conservation biologist, I study these fish. I call them megafish. They're more than six feet long and 200-plus pounds, and they're typically very rare. Some are at imminent risk of extinction. Many are found in Asia. So far, I've studied 18 of the world's two dozen known megafish species. My research has helped the International Union for Conservation of Nature decide to include some of them on its threatened species list. The Mekong giant catfish, the world's largest recorded freshwater fish, was added to the IUCN's critically endangered list. Thai fishermen caught the 646-pound record holder in 2005. A century ago its population was at least 95 percent higher than it is today. Now fishers would be lucky to catch Wrangling Megafish The world's largest freshwater fish are in trouble. Biologist Zeb Hogan is identifying and protecting as many as he can---before they vanish forever. WORLDWIDE (Continued) n Society Project Zeb Hogan's research is funded in part by your National Geographic Society membership.