Catfish in the MKD: path to success

Striped catfish farming in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam: a tumultuous path to a global success

Abstract

The striped catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) (Sauvage), also referred to as tra catfish or sutchi catfish, farming sector is an icon of aquaculture development in Vietnam and globally. Over a decade it has developed from a humble backyard operation to one that currently accounts for the production of over one million tonnes, employing over 180 000 rural poor, and generating an export income exceeding US$ 1.4 billion (2010). It accounts for the highest average production, ranging from 200 to 400 t ha−1 crop, ever recorded for the primary production sector. The system is integrated and incorporates seed production, fry to fingerling rearing and grow-out, and is concentrated in a few provinces in the Mekong Delta (8°33′–10°55′N, 104°30′–106°50′E), along two branches of the Mekong River. In essence, perhaps, the initial trade restrictions on catfish exports to the USA provided the impetus and then the associated developments from 2002 to 2005 of the sector to a great extent in seeking new markets. The explosion of tra catfish farming has resulted in many competitive sectors challenging this ‘tra catfish’ invasion into a globalized market. These confrontations still exist with many instances of attempts to discredit the sector and discourage international consumers. However, the Vietnamese catfish sector is resilient and has managed to withstand such pressures and continues to thrive. This paper reviews the development of catfish farming in the Mekong Delta, its current status and what is required to sustain it as a major food source and livelihood provider.

De Silva, S. S. & Phuong, N. T.  (2011).  ‘Striped catfish farming in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam: a tumultuous path to a global success’, Reviews in Aquaculture, Vol. 3(2).

Article available at Wiley Online Library

Photo © Loni Hensler