By Lyle Brennan
Whopper: The 614-kg kaluga sturgeon fills the whole of Chen Lin's rowing boat
Fishermen in China made the catch of a lifetime when they hauled this half-ton monster from the deep.
It was snared by Chen Lin - but he needed help from 11 of his friends to load the fish on to a stretcher and carry it ashore.
The fish was pulled from the Heilongjiang River, near the northeastern city of Tongjiang, which lies on the border with Russia, on Tuesday
Mr Chen said it was the biggest fish he had ever seen.
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Heave-ho: A dozen fishermen load the fish on to a stretcher and hoist it to the banks of Heilongjian River
After it was pulled from the water it was taken to a local breeding centre.
Breeders told China Central Television the female is carrying 1.2million eggs, which will be collected and artificially inseminated before the fry are released back into the river.
Kaluga, which are unique to the Heilongjian Basin, are thought to have been around for 130 million years and are among the largest freshwater fish in the world.
The species is listed as critically endangered as it has been fished almost to extinction for its valuable roe.
The Heilongjiang - whose name translates as Black Dragon River - is the tenth longest in the world..
In captivity: A breeder wades through a tank next to the kaluga, which is carrying 1.2million eggs that will be fertilised in a bid to boost the endangered species' numbers
Captured: Fish at the breeding centre where the monster sturgeon is being kept
Practical Fishkeeping magazine reports that kaluga prey on salmon and are known to capsize boats and even drown fishermen.
The huge specimen caught this week is not even close to the largest in China's waters, with the maximum size thought to be a ton.
To put this in perspective, Britain's largest freshwater fish was just 61lb 6oz when she died at the age of 30 last year.
The Fat Lady, a mirror carp, had been caught about 200 times and was something of a local legend at St Ives Lakes, Cambridgeshire.
Starting small: Fish fry like these will be released back into the river after the giant kaluga's eggs are hatched
Friday, May 18, 2012
By Lyle Brennan