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Keywords:

  • aquaculture;
  • Mekong River;
  • Pangasianodon hypopthalmus;
  • population structure;
  • striped catfish;
  • translocation

Abstract

The present paper reviews the use and exchange of genetic resources of the migratory freshwater fish Pangasianodon hypophthalmus (Sauvage 1878) (the striped or sutchi catfish). This species is naturally distributed in the Mekong River and Chao Phraya River basins, and is cultured in several countries, but current production occurs predominantly in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Catfish aquaculture in Vietnam has evolved from extensive systems using wild-caught seed to an intensified farming system that is entirely dependent on hatchery-produced seed. Genetic improvement programmes on catfish have started in Vietnam, but are still in their infancy. Genetic studies have revealed several subpopulations of the species. Apart from selective breeding and the production of hybrids with closely related species, no other technologies have been applied to improve the performance of catfish. The use and exchange of P. hypophthalmus genetic resources have brought benefits to rural communities. Aquaculture development of catfish has evolved from being seen as an exploitation of natural resources to an activity that can reduce pressure on wild fish populations. Management of aquaculture stocks need to be rationalised to minimise the potential impacts it might cause to wild populations.