This booklet was prepared for the readers to easy understand about Vietnamese Pangasius and Pangasius industry.

Vietnamese Pangasius are highly appreciated by local and international consumers, not only for its high nutritious value, white muscle, without horizontal bones, without smell of sediment and seaweed a little of taste lipid content, but also for its safety to all consumers in all age groups.

Vietnamese Pangasius is a species of traditional farming by farmers in the Mekong River Delta. To meet high demand of global and domestic consumers, after 10 year development since 1996, fish farming area has been expanded nearly 6,000 hectares in 10 Mekong Delta provinces.

Most of fish farming area are strictly managed in accordance with national regulations on food safety and environmental protection. Until June 2012, over a half of fish farming area nationwide is audited and certified by internationally sustainable standards such as GlobalGAP, AquaGAP, BAP/GAA and ASC (recently certified). The process of auditing and certifying for Vietnamese pangasius is being carried out strictly according to requirements of consumers which proved that Vietnamese pangasius is not only loved by tasty smell with high nutritious value but it also satisfies strict requirements of the market.

Vietnam has nearly 100 pangasius exporting and processing companies in which their processing facilities are equipped modern equipments and controlled in accordance with HACCP. Pangasius products are being exported to 145 countries and territories worldwide such as EU, the U.S., ASEAN, Canada, the Middle East, China, Japan, etc. Fish export volume and value to markets reported steady annual growth of 10 - 18 percent, worth by US$1.8 - 2 billion per year in two recent years.

The booklet compiled under the Q & A form provides basic knowledge of pangasius, techniques of farming and processing, quality management, information of importers and the government’s regulations on breeding, processing and exporting specific fish products.


Editorial Board

Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP)

Head office: 218 street No.6, Lot A, An Phu - An Khanh New Urban Area, District 2, Hochiminh, Vietnam

Tel: (+84 8) 6281 0430 / Fax: (+84 8) 6281 0438


Rep. office: 10 Nguyen Cong Hoan street, Ngoc Khanh Ward, Ba Dinh, Ha Noi, Vietnam

Tel: (+84.4) 3771 5055; Fax: (+84.4) 3771 5084



How does the Vietnamese Government control the water source quality for Pangasius farming and what are the results?

The Vietnamese Government and people living in the Mekong Delta pay much attention to the food safety issues and sustainable development of Pangasius farming industry. The quality of farming water becomes the first interest factor. The setting up of regulations and standards, of competent authorities in charge and the operation of Research Aquaculture Institutes and Monitoring Centers for Aquaculture environment and Epidemic are three main topics to be particularly focused.

1. Regulations and standards: Based on scientific results of Codex, importing countries and researches on Vietnamese conditions, the Vietnamese Government has promulgated several effective regulations and standards on planning aquaculture zones and environment, quality of water source and food hygiene conditions, etc….

 ·         QCVN 02-20:2014/BNNPTNT National technical standards pangasius farms (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus Sauvage, 1878) - ensuring veterinary hygiene, environmental protection, food safety.

 ·         National Standards 9963:2014 Freshwater Fish - Pangasius  - Technical Requirements.

 ·    National Standards QCVN 01-80:2011/BNNPTNT on establishment of aquaculture for human consumption -. Condition for veterinary hygiene.

·         QCVN 38:2011/BTNMT National Technical Standards on surface water quality for protection of aquatic life.

·         The decision No. 130/2008/QĐ-BNN  dated December 31st 2008 of MARD promulgating regulations of contaminant residue control in animal and aquatic products.

·         The circular No.44/2010/TT-BNN dated July 22th 2010 of MARD providing for conditions on food safety and hygiene-guaranteed intensive pangasius -rearing establishments and zones.

2. Competent authorities: in charge of state management and enforcement of regulations on planning, safe and hygiene conditions and quality of farming water source. Vietnam has a system of competent agencies from central to local in charge of implementing state management in aquaculture

1.     Competent authorities under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) include:

a/   Central level:

- The National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD) with 6 Branches nationwide.

-    Department of Animal Health.

-    Department of Aquaculture (under Department of Fisheries)

b/  Local level:

Provincial Sub-Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development.

2.    Research Institutes and Monitoring Centers for Aquaculture environment and Epidemic:

Monitoring Centers for Aquaculture environment and Epidemic under Research Institutes for Aquaculture have implementing the “Surveillance and Monitoring Program for aquaculture environment in Mekong River valley” in the riverhead, middle and lower parts of the Mekong River. Monitoring results showed that parameters on the quality of farming water source (pH, turbidity, salinity, DO, BOD, NH3,...) were at tolerance levels and met standards for freshwater fish farming.

In 2009, scientists of Aquaculture and Fisheries Group-Wageningen University (Netherlands, researching agencies under MARD (Aquaculture Department, Research Institute for Aquaculture No. 2-RIA2), Van Lang University, Can Tho University, Vinh Long Department of Agriculture and Rural Development implemented the research “Environmental impact assessment of the pangasius sector in the Mekong Delta” (see:

The result of the research indicated that about 2% of the Mekong river water passed through the pangasius ponds. The effect on water quality was limited because sedimentation, mineralisation, and infiltration occur in ponds. The contribution of the production ponds to water pollution depends on the way farmers manage their sludge. In the worst case, the sector contributes 2.4% to the N and 3.7% to the P content of the river; while on-land sediment recovery and recycling may reduce these to less than 0.05%. You can click the link for more information (

The National Monitoring Program for certain harmful substances residues in aquaculture fish has been implementing since 2000 by NAFIQAD but contaminants residues (heavy metals, pesticides...) have not been detected or been detected below MRLs in pangasius farming water and flesh.

Results of the above mentioned Programs show that the water source of the Mekong River has not biologically and physically been polluted and is suitable for aquaculture, in compliance with regulations on food hygiene and safety.

The effective control of safety and hygiene conditions in aquaculture and processing of fishery products in general, Pangasius in particular for export to the EU has been recognized by the European Competent Authorities (Food and Veterinary Office - FVO, Directorate General for Health and Consumers) during its recent regular inspections.