Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler
Pangasius bocourti & Pangasius hypophthalmus
Production country — Vietnam
Production method — Ponds
Pangasius that are not farmed to any environmental production standards (uncertified) cannot be verified to address a number of issues of environmental concern, due to the lack of auditing of which requires farm inspections to check compliance against production standard critieria. In general there are a number of issues of concern associated with production, these include: habitat alteration; 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. ASC certified is currently the best choice to make for this species.
Criterion Score: 0
Pangasius are a fed species, requiring a commercial diet containing fish and vegetable proteins and oils. Pangasius produced to no recognised production standards cannot be assured to use traceable, responsible or sustainable feed. However 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.
Criterion Score: -9
Pangasius produced to no recognised production standards can have a large environmental impact, the extent of which is unknown as uncertified production is lacking in data. Issue such as freshwater depletion; habitat alteration; chemical and antibiotic use; unregulated discharges of sludge and pond water, reliance on wild caught broodstock, lack of data on disease transfer, small scale escapes and predator control methods are all of concern in the absence of certification and therefore traceability to production source. These extensive unknown potential environmental impacts result in a precautionary higher overall rating.
Fish Health and Welfare
Criterion Score: 1
The national VietGap standard whilst not addressing environmental performance does provide criteria for fish welfare and slaughter
Criterion Score: -1
Overall the management of pangasius production is evaluated to be only partially effective. There is a lack of Spatial Management that incorporates aquaculture production in the Mekong Delta and although there are regulations in place for many of the aspects of environmental concern there is not enough information in place to assess their effectiveness. The Vietnamese Government has committed to the 3rd party certification of all pangasius farms by 2020 however this has not yet been achieved.
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
Bass, seabass (Farmed)
Bream, Gilthead (Farmed)
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
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 crustacea. Pangasius bocourti is one of the most important farmed species in Vietnam.
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SEAFISH, 2015. Responsible Sourcing Guide, Farmed Pangasius, 1-6
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Phu, T.M., Phuong, N.T., Dung, T.T., Hai, D.M., Son, V.N., Rico, A., Clausen, J.H., Madsen, H., Murray, F., Dalsgaard, A., 2016. An evaluation of fish health-management practices and occupational health hazards associated with Pangasius catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) aquaculture in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Aquaculture Research, 47:2778-2794
Phuong, N.T., Oanh, D. T. H., 2010. Striped catfish aquaculture in Vietnam: a decade of unprecedented development. In: Success stories in Asian aquaculture. Springer, p 131-147
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
Schmitz, M., Baekelandt, S., Tran-Thi, L. K., Mandiki, S. N. M., Douxfils, J., Nguyen, T. Q., Thi-Thanh, H. Do., Kestemont, P., 2016. Osmoregulatory and immunological status of the pond-raised striped catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus S.) as affected by seasonal runoff and salinity changes in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Fish Physiology and Biochemistry
Thuy, D. T., Buchmann, K., 2008. Infections with gill parasitic monogeneans Thaparocleidus siamensis and T. caecus in cultured catfish Pangasius hypophthalmus in Southern Vietnam. Bulletin of European association of fish pathologists Assoc Fish Pathol 28:10-15
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