ANGLING potential: If claims about the presence of giant freshwater catfish were true, they could boost Muar’s tourism draw
MUAR: LOCAL fishermen here are claiming that freshwater catfish can be found at the Muar river. Some of the catfish, known locally as baung, are said to be over 30kg in weight.
Villagers here claim that these giant catfish are able to jump as high as three metres out of the water to catch monkeys playing on the low-lying branches over the river.
Johor 102 Village community heads' committee chairman Sia Ka Tuan called on the Johor government, the State Fisheries Department and the National Geographic Society to find out if the claims were true.
He said the experts should conduct a study of rivers in Panchor, Pagoh, Bukit Kepong and areas towards to Segamat to see if there are such giant catfish.
"I have received reports from my committee members that such giant catfish exists in the waters upstream of Muar river.
"According to one fishermen, however, there may not be many left because of water pollution."
Sia said he once heard of a baung weighing about 30kg that was caught from the Muar river about 30 to 40 years ago.
Meanwhile, Pagoh Durian Chondong MCA chairman Goh Tik Tik said there are probably very few giant catfish left in the Muar river these days. He said that if it was true that the giant catfish still exists in the Muar river, then the authorities should protect them from extinction.
Fisherman Mohd Noor Daud, 72, who had been fishing at Bukit Kepong river for more than 50 years, said he once hooked a 10kg baung using dead chicken as bait.
Bukit Kepong resident Isnin Khalid, 74, said if such giant catfish could still be found in the Muar river, it could be turned into a tourism product to attract recreational anglers.