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Next Generation Fish Make a Splash in Mindano

by Ellen Hardy
03 October 2008, at 1:00am

MALAWI - A new type of catfish is having a very promising introduction into the city of Mindano. Farmers are already saying that they are determined to produce a stable supply of this "next-generation fish."

According to a report from BuisinessWorld, the new variety, Pangasius, is also known as sutchi catfish or striped catfish. The most common varieties being grown in the country are African and native catfish.

In an interview earlier this week, Rochelle A. Otoc, industry development officer for the local Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here, told BusinessWorld that the country is importing 500 metric tons of Pangasius fillet from Vietnam used by restaurants and fastfood chains.

"Based on consultations with fish pond owners in the region, they can easily provide the initial 30 hectares targeted for the commercial production of the catfish," Ms. Otoc told BusinessWorld.

Citing a study, she said that the production cycle for Pangasius runs six months, with one fish weighing from one to one-and-a-half kilogram. The production cost for each fish amounts to P33.38. A one-hectare freshwater pond can accommodate 100,000 fingerlings, which could net at least 85,000 kilos at 85% survival rate, Ms. Otoc said on conservative estimates.

After the six-month cycle, mature live fish fetches P50/kg at farm-gate price but could rise to P130/kg when sold as fillets, Ms. Otoc said, noting that a kilo of fillets can be produced from three fish.

In Vietnam’s Mekong River, adult Pangasius can reportedly grow up to four feet in length and weigh up to 44 kgs.

Ellen Hardy