Basa catfish. (Photo: Stock File)
Vietnamese catfish farming likelihood assessed
Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 03:50 (GMT + 9)
The National Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (Conapesca) will analyse the environmental impact of the introduction of basa catfish (Pangasius bocourti) from Vietnam in Mexican aquaculture.
The national government's goal is to conduct an environmental study to avoid potential negative situations that could be generated by allowing the import of this exotic fish into the country, explained Conapesca organisation director, Victor Arriaga Haro.
The Vietnamese catfish belongs to the genus Pangasius, and is different from the catfish that is farmed in the United States, which belongs to the genus Ictalurus.
The official said that this risk analysis research on the Vietnamese catfish will provide adequate technical information to decide whether it is advisable to introduce this species offering high profitability, given the positioning it already has in national and international markets, the Informador posted.
Furthermore, the study will be the occasion of a special decision of the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) whether to authorize or prohibit cultivation in Mexico at the request of interested fishermen´s groups.
Arriaga Haro highlighted that because it is a resource that is alien to the country's ecosystem, it is deemed as an invasive animal.
He also said that because of the way the Vietnamese catfish breeds, which requires the application of hormones, it is expected that it should be farmed in ecosystems that are isolated from other native species.
According to the data provided by Conapesca, Vietnam produces over 150,000 tonnes of basa catfish annually, while Mexico only produces around 5,000 tonnes of catfish Ictalurus, of which there are more than 30 species.
The Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (Vasep) of Vietnam forecasts a demand growth of national pangasius from major markets. It expects an increase of between 40 per cent and 50 per cent in the case of the European Union; and a rise of between 27 per cent and 30 per cent in the U.S. While the growth in the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is expected to reach from 30 per cent to 40 per cent.
At present, the U.S., the EU and Asean account for about 59 per cent of total exports of Vietnamese catfish.
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By Analia Murias