Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler

Pangasius bocourti & Pangasius hypophthalmus

Method of production — Farmed
Production country — Vietnam
Production method — Ponds
Certification — GLOBALG.A.P. certification
Picture of Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler

Sustainability rating three info

Sustainability overview

Pangasius farmed to GLOBALG.A.P. certified production standards is a better choice to make for this farmed species. The GlobalG.A.P. certification addresses a number of issues of environmental concern, the auditing of which requires farm inspections and standard criteria enforcement. There are a number of issues of environmental concern associated with pangasius production, these include: habitat alteration; freshwater impacts; nutrient and organic pollution; escapes; interactions with local wildlife and enforcement of regulations. Pangasius is a an omnivore and as such is not heavily reliant on marine proteins and oils to form part of its diet, however the fish used to produce the feed is currently not certified as being responsibly managed or sustainable. It is only by sourcing certified pangasius that you can be assured that the issues of critical environmental concern are being addressed.

This rating is based on full compliance with certification requirements. Commercial buyers should therefore ensure that full compliance has been achieved in order for this rating to be applicable.

Feed Resources

Criterion score: 1 info

Pangasius are a fed species, requiring a commercial diet containing fish and vegetable proteins and oils. Feed for GLOBALG.A.P. certified Pangasius is traceable but it is not required to be certified as sustainable or responsibly sourced. Pangasius require a low amount of fishmeal and fish oil in their diet making them a net protein producers rather than consumers, which in turn can contribute to future food security.

Environmental Impacts

Criterion score: -4 info

Pangasius have a number of environmental issues associated with their production, many of which are mitigated by the GLOBALG.A.P. certification standards. These include: freshwater impacts and use; habitat impacts; chemical use, escape risk and disease transfer risk. However there are still issues that need to improve within GLOBALG.A.P. certified pangasius, which include limits on discharges to the surrounding environment and the allowance of the use of lethal predator control.

Fish Health and Welfare

Criterion score: 1 info

The GLOBALG.A.P. standard include requirements for fish welfare and humane slaughter.


Criterion score: 2 info

Overall the management of pangasius production is evaluated to be only partially effective. There is no Strategic Environmental Planning in place in the area that incorporates pangasius farming, there are regulations and/or certification criteria in place to cover the environmental impacts of production although these are assessed to be only partially effective as farm discharges have no limits and lethal predator control is permissible.

The GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture Standard incorporates aspects stipulated by the FAO Technical Guidelines on Aquaculture certification and the OIE Aquatic Animal Health Code. It is recognized both by the GFSI for food safety and GSSI at primary production level, covering key sustainability aspects for animal production for human consumption.

Production method


Farming in open net pens in river systems allows for interaction with the surrounding environment and, as such, has to be managed in such a way as to minimise negative environmental and ecological impacts.


Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Cod, Pacific Cod
Coley, Saithe
Hake, European
Monkfish, Anglerfish, White
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Sturgeon (Farmed)


The group of freshwater fish known as catfish are captured from the wild or farmed for food and displayed in public aquaria dependant on the species. This farmed species natural habitat is medium to large rivers in Asian countries such as Vietnam, where they can grow up to 44kg.There are omnivores, feeding on a diet of other fish, vegetable matter and crustaceans. Pangasius bocourti is one of the most important farmed species in Vietnam.


GGAP V5.0 (2016) GLOBALG.A.P. Farm Assurance, All Farm Base- Aquaculture Module, Control Points and Compliance Criteria, English Version 5.0, Edition 5.0- 02 July 2016, Obligatory From 01 July 2016.Available online at Accessed 05/09/2018

Tacon, A. G. J., Metian, M., 2015. Feed Matters: Satisfying the Feed Demand of Aquaculture. Reviews in Fisheries Science and Aquaculture, 23:1-10

Tacon, A. G. J., Metian, M., 2008. Global overview on the use of fish meal and fish oil in industrially compounded aquafeeds: Trends and future prospects. Aquaculture, 285:146-158

Poulsen, A., Griffiths, D., Nam, S., Tung, N. T., 2008. Capture-based aquaculture of Pangasiid catfishes and snakeheads in the Mekong River Basin. Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations Consultancy