Mekong Fish: A Lucrative Alternative to Bangus and Tilapia?

A strange fish circled its way around the narrow confines of an aquarium that attracted crowds around the Vitarich booth in a recent Mindanao investment forum here. It had the head of a catfish, which reminds Mindanao growers of the local hito, but with the flat body of most saltwater fish. According to the posters that Vitarich posted on the wall, this catfish can grow as big as a shark.

BY GERMELINA A. LACORTE
Davao Today
Posted by Bulatlat

DAVAO CITY—A strange fish circled its way around the narrow confines of an aquarium that attracted crowds around the Vitarich booth in a recent Mindanao investment forum here. It had the head of a catfish, which reminds Mindanao growers of the local hito, but with the flat body of most saltwater fish. According to the posters that Vitarich posted on the wall, this catfish can grow as big as a shark.

It was the Mekong catfish—also called as pangasius here—which used to grow only in the great Mekong river that coursed through Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.
But the crowd, which included three chefs from Marco Polo hotel, was not there only for curiosity sake.

Business and trade officials 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.


Mekong catfish, popularly known in Davao as “pangasius,” is a fish that naturally grows from the Mekong river delta. Thinking of the local “hito,” Mindanao fish growers easily relates to it. (Photo by Davao Today)

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,” said Eduardo Lazo, business development manager of Vitarich Corporation, which is contract growing the fish in Luzon. He said the fish enjoys brisk demand, not only in the world market, but also among high-end restaurants and hotels in the country.

Share This Post