Fishermen in China made the catch of a lifetime when they hauled this half-ton monster from the deep. It took a dozen of them to load the kaluga sturgeon, weighing in at back-breaking 617kg, on to a stretcher and carry it ashore.
Fisherman Chen Lin said it was the biggest fish he had ever seen after he caught it in Heilongjiang River, at the city of Tongjiang, which borders Russia in the northeast of the country.
The sturgeon could have made for quite a feast, but after it was pulled out of the water on Tuesday this particular beast was taken to a local breeding centre. Breeders told China Central Television the female is carrying 1.2 million 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.
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.