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Mekong Catfish: a Big Fish in Mindano

by 5m Editor
22 January 2009, at 12:00am

MINDANO, PHILIPPINES - The Mekong catfish is now in the Philippines, and producers there believe that the potential for this fish are huge.

It has the head of a catfish, which reminds Mindanao growers of the local “hito,” but with the flat body of most saltwater fish. This catfish can grow as big as a shark, writes Germelina A. Lacorte, Davao Today.

The Mekong catfish—also known as pangasius, which used to grow only in the great Mekong river that coursed through Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, has now been introduced to Mindano.

Business and trade officials in Mindano, Philippines, have been promoting the fish for its high “export potential,” enticing fish growers and exporters in Mindanao to grow this fish at home. A prime export of Vietnam, the Mekong catfish has enjoyed a high demand in Europe, notably in Russia and Poland; and in the US and Australia.

According to the market data gathered by Vitarich, exports of Mekong fish in 2006 reached as high as US$750 million.

“It can be a lucrative option for tilapia and bangus farmers in Mindanao,” Eduardo Lazo, business development manager of Vitarich Corporation, told Davao Today. He said the fish enjoys brisk demand, not only in the world market, but also among high end restaurants and hotels in the country.

According to Lazo, there is a big potential for the local product to beat Vietnam exports. “Other Asian suppliers have spotty track record and poor image in the US,” Lazo said in his presentation, “Pangasius, the Love Fish.” Vitarich has been running a hatchery in Pampanga, and contracting the fish to fishgrowers in Luzon.

Lazo said that Vitarich supplies pangasius fish fillet and other processed fish products to high end restaurants in the country. He said the imported fish is already beginning to appear in some wet markets in the country.

5m Editor