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River Monsters: Catch Big Fish In The Yangtze River

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The Yangtze River is one of the largest and most important rivers in the world. Starting in the Tanggula Mountains and flowing towards the East China Sea, this river is an economic force, an important transportation route, and a natural home for creatures in all the regions it flows through. However, living in its waters is a river monster that is considered one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. Let’s find the biggest fish in the Yangtze River!

What is the largest fish in the Yangtze River?

River Monsters: Catch The Biggest Fish In The Yangtze RiverThe Chinese paddlefish is the largest fish that lived in the Yangtze River.

Alneth / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

The largest fish in the Yangtze River was historically the Chinese paddlefish, although it was officially declared extinct in 2020.

As the world’s third longest river, it’s no surprise that the Yangtze is home to some truly giant freshwater monsters. Historically, the largest “river monster” that lived within the Yangtze was the Chinese paddlefish, although this fish was officially declared extinct in 2020. Since it disappeared, the closest competitor for the largest fish in the Yangtze is probably the Yangtze sturgeon.

The Chinese paddlefish goes by several names, including the Chinese swordfish. Until it became extinct, it was widely considered one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. Somewhat related to the American paddlefish, this member is Polyodontidae the family.

The Chinese paddlefish was very long, with a white underbelly, and their back and head were gray. Their most notable feature was their paddle-like nose (known as the rostrum). This used to measure a third of the length of the whole body.

Where did the Chinese paddlefish live?

The Chinese paddlefish has a history that spans much of the Yangtze River. The paddlefish was anadromous. This means that it spent part of its life in the sea and part of its life in fresh water. Therefore, it can be found occasionally in the South China Sea at certain times of the spawning cycle. When it grew up, the paddlefish lived in the sea. When it was time to spawn, it would move upstream (like salmon) to spawn and reproduce.

How big was the Chinese paddlefish?

River Monsters: Catch The Biggest Fish In The Yangtze RiverAlthough considered extinct, the Chinese paddlefish reportedly reached 20 meters in length.

Alneth / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

The Chinese paddlefish used to reach 10 meters in length. However, some large specimens are reported to have reached up to 23 meters in length.

When the Chinese paddlefish reached maturity, it was easily among the largest freshwater fish in the world. Before their extinction, they may have been the longest fish in the world, including the beluga sturgeon and the American sturgeon. Young fish usually weigh 2-3 lbs, although a mature adult can reach 660 lbs. The heaviest fish reported (although not officially recorded) measured 23 feet and weighed 1999.59 lbs.

Why did the Chinese paddlefish become extinct?

River Monsters: Catch The Biggest Fish In The Yangtze RiverThe Three Gorges Dam has contributed significantly to the decline of the Chinese paddlefish.

Isabel Kendzior/Shutterstock.com

The Chinese paddlefish became extinct mainly due to population fragmentation resulting from two dams built along the Yangtze River.

The paddlefish was declared extinct in 1993, although it was not thought to be extinct until between 2005 and 2010. Once the Gezhouba and Three Gorges dams were built near the river, the fish could not go upriver and spawn anywhere. long. Once the population was divided, its decline was imminent.

Besides the dam, fish were also threatened by overfishing. This was because they were considered ancient delicacies.

Do people eat Chinese paddlefish?

When the Chinese paddlefish still existed, the locals considered it a delicacy, a practice that dates back to ancient times. In fact, the decline of the paddlefish probably began between the 13th and 19th centuries as the annual catch began to exceed 25 tons.

Was the Chinese paddlefish dangerous?

Tropical Fish With Corals And Algae In Blue Water Beautiful Of The Picture Id1316735106 River Monsters: Catch Big Fish In The Yangtze RiverEven when they became extinct, the Chinese paddlefish was not a threat to humans.

iStock.com/NataliaBelay

Despite their size, the Chinese paddlefish were not a threat to humans in any way. Even when they were swimming in the waters of the Yangtze, they were interested in small crustaceans and other fish, not people. They had the same behavior of a gar or a sturgeon, swimming quietly and content to leave people alone. However, it doesn’t matter anymore as they are officially extinct with no hope of recovery.

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