October 3, 2008
The production of pangasius catfish is becoming more and more popular in Mindanao of the Philippines.
Consultations with fish pond owners in Mindanao indicate they are able to easily provide the initial 30 hectares targeted for the commercial production of the pangasius catfish, according to Rochelle A. Otoc, industry development officer for the local Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Citing a study and conservative estimates, Otoc said production cost for each fish amounts of PHP 33.38, while a one-hectare freshwater pond could accommodate 100,000 fingerlings, which could net at least 85,000 kg at 85 percent survival rate.
After the six-month production cycle, mature fish could fetch PHP 50 per kg at farm-gate price but could rise to PHP 130 per kg when sold as fillets, Otoc said, noting that a kg of fillets could be produced from three fish.
A pangasius demonstration farm was recently introduced here where 3,000 fingerlings were dispersed, said Dorecita Delima, DTI-Central Mindanao assistant regional director.
"To increase investments in the region and provide more employment, we are promoting inland fishing of this fish variety," Delima said.
Delima is positive that fish pond owners in the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani will realise the potential of pangasius catfish and begin production by converting some of their tilapia and Africanor native catfish ponds.
Unlike the African or native catfish varieties that thrive on fish or chicken entrails, pangasius can be raised using feedstocks, Otoc said.
Raising pangasius will offer not marketing opportunity for domestic producers, but also to break into overseas markets such as the US, Russia and the EU where the fish is in great demand, according to Otoc.
Common varieties reared in the Philippines are African and native catfish.