Philippines authority has confirmed that a new variety, Pangasius, is also known as sutchi catfish or striped catfish. The most common varieties being grown in the country are African and native catfish. Rochelle A. Otoc, industry development officer for the local Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), expressed that the country is importing 500 metric tons of Pangasius fillet from Vietnam used by restaurants and fastfood chains.
Otoc also said that based on consultations with fish pond owners in the region, they can easily provide the initial 30 hectares targeted for the commercial production of the catfish. She supported her comments by giving reference to a study which reported that production cycle for Pangasius runs six months, with one fish weighing from one to one-and-a-half kilogram. The production cost for each fish amounts to P33.38.
Ms Otoc confirmed that after the six-month cycle, mature live fish fetches P50/kg at farm-gate price but could rise to P130/kg when sold as fillets. She added that a kilo of fillets can be produced from three fish. In Vietnam’s Mekong River, adult Pangasius can reportedly grow up to four feet in length and weigh up to 44 kgs.
Dorecita T. Delima, DTI-Central Mindanao assistant regional director, told that a Pangasius demonstration farm was recently inaugurated here where 3,000 fingerlings were dispersed. She pointed out that to increase investments in the region and provide more employment, promotion of inland fishing of this fish variety is necessary.
Ms. Otoc said the cultivation of Pangasius offers not only marketing opportunity for producers in the country but also abroad since the fish is in great demand in the US, Europe and Russia.