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Alligator fish found in Myanmar


Alligator Gar Fish caught in Hlaing River (Photo- Myo Min Htet/EMG)

YANGON - When Nyi Min Htut went to the market to buy his fish he had no idea that he would be returning with a two foot, nine inch alligator gar fish, the first to be caught in Myanmar.

The alligator gar, a freshwater species native to North America, was caught by a local fisherman near the Wartayar jetty on the Hlaing River near Yangon. The fisherman sold his prize for Ks 10,000 (US$ 10) and it was resold to Nyi Min Htut for Ks 50,000 (US$ 50).

"When I arrived at home, I found that the fish scales are very hard. So, I brought a fish to the Fisheries Enterprise because I have never seen a fish like this before," said Nyi Min Htut.

Win Kyaing, General Secretary of Myanmar Fisheries Federation, correctly identified the fish because of the dual row of large teeth in the upper jaw which, along with the elongated snout, resemble an alligator. 

The alligator gar is a relatively passive, solitary fish that lives in fresh and brackish water and feeds by ambushing smaller prey. They are not known to be harmful to humans but can grow to huge sizes. 

The largest Alligator gar was caught in the Mississippi in 2011 and measured 8 ft 5 in (2.57 m) long, and weighed 327 lb (148 kg).

"It is unbelievable because the fish is not found in Myanmar. If species like the alligator gar is breeding in Myanmar rivers, this could harm for other fish species. Even to import fish from an aboard, an import license must be permitted," said Win Kyaing.

There are about 1,000 fish species in Myanmar. About 600 are freshwater and the remaining are saltwater species.

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