October 7, 2008
Pangasius catfish production gains ground in Mindanao, Philippines
Production of a new catfish variety has gained ground in General Santos City in a bid to produce stable domestic supply of the product now being touted as the "next generation fish" in the country.
This new catfish variety is called Pangasius, also known as sutchi catfish or striped catfish.
Rochelle A. Otoc, industry development officer for the local Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), said the production cycle for Pangasius is six months, with a piece weighing one to one-and-a-half kilogramme.
A hectare of fresh water pond could accommodate 100,000 fingerlings, which could net at least 85,000 kgs at 85 percent survival rate, Otoc said on conservative estimates.
After the six-month cycle, mature live fish fetches PHP50 per kg at farm gate price but could rise to PHP130 per kg when in the form of a fillet, Otoc said, noting that a kilo of fillet can be produced from three Pangasius pieces.
Thriving in Vietnam's Mekong River, adult Pangasius could grow up to 130 cm or four feet in length and weigh up to 44 kg.
Dorecita T. Delima, DTI-Central Mindanao assistant regional director, said a Pangasius demonstration farm was recently inaugurated.
She noted the organization of the Pangasius Industry Cluster to popularize the new catfish variety.
Delima expressed hopes that fishpond owners in the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani will realize the potentials of Pangasius and would soon start production by converting some of their tilapia and African or native catfish ponds.
Otoc said that unlike the African or native catfish varieties, which thrive on trash fish or chicken entrails, Pangasius can be cultivated using feed grain stocks.
Trash fish has been in short supply lately, which is why DTI is trying to promote the cultivation of Pangasius, she explained.
Otoc said the cultivation of Pangasius also offers export opportunity to countries like the US, Europe and Russia.