Photo credit: Han Huong (Vietnam)
Review: Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the website)
Viet Nam is by far the world’s largest producer of Pangasius with a production that exceeded 1.2 million tons in 2013 and with an annual export turnover of at least US$ 2 billion. The striped catfish (Pangasius hypophthalmus) which is locally known as “Tra” is the leading Pangasius species that is farmed in commercial aquaculture in Vietnam.
The cage culture of catfish in Vietnam has a relatively long history that started in the 1960s whereas cages are usually sited on major river tributaries of the Mekong River delta. The An Giang province has witnessed a significant development in regard to cage aquaculture reaching about 3000 cages in An Giang province with about 40,000 tons in the year 2000. During the early farming of pangasius, the collection of fingerlings from nature was the only source to stock the cages. However, after the successful artificial reproduction of the species, the collection of the wild fry and fingerlings has been banned and hence the hatchery-produced seeds became the only source for cage stocking. In brief, the farming of “tra catfish” is the most important aquatic farming sector in Vietnam from both a social and an economic point of view.
The stocking density of fish ranges typically from 100-150 specimens/m3. With the scaling-up of cage farming, the use of commercial pellets became essential. Usually, the entire cage is harvested at a single harvest in order to meet the large volume requirements of the processing plants.
It may worth mentioning that the cage culture of pangasius showed a considerable decrease between 2003 and 2007. The decrease has been attributed to farming economics as well as disease outbreaks.