The Nagao Natural Environment Foundation (NEF) of Japan on February 24 announced a recorded total of 540 fish species, including numerous new species, in the Mekong River and Chao Phraya basin region.

The tally resulted from a project on human, ecosystem and reasonable use of natural resources in the Mekong River and Chao Phraya basin region, funded by NEF.

Among 540 fish species found in the Mekong River basin , 67 species were discovered living there for the first time, while 21 other species had never been seen previously.

The species were divided into three kinds including giant fish species, tiny species and popular species. Of these, the giant fish species are facing risk of extinction.

According to NEF, to protect the giant fish species from the risk of extinction, artificial insemination was required for breeding them in a natural setting.

Carried out from the end of 2007 to 2010, the project was implemented in four Mekong River Commission member countries, namely Thailand , Laos , Cambodia and Vietnam ./.