Development of a conservation strategy for the critically endangered Mekong giant catfish: Project brief

Many species of freshwater fish are acutely threatened by overfishing and loss of habitat or habitat connectivity. Large and long-lived riverine species, which often migrate over long distances to complete their life cycle are particularly at risk. The Mekong giant catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) provides a striking case in point. Having historically supported a significant fishery, the wild population is now believed to number at best a few hundred individuals. The species has been listed as critically endangered in the 2003 IUCN Red List. Its precarious status is likely to be the result of excessive targeted and incidental harvesting over the past twenty years, and to a lesser extent habitat degradation.

The purpose of the project is to develop an overarching conservation strategy for the Mekong giant catfish integrating, as appropriate, supportive breeding with harvest and habitat management. This will involve (1) quantitative assessment of population status based on existing information, (2) quantitative assessment of the likely effectiveness of different conservation measures such as supportive breeding, harvest restrictions and habitat conservation/restoration (3) review and improvement of captive breeding procedures; (4) promotion of appropriate adaptive policies for the further development of the strategy; and (5) definition of an overall conservation strategy in consultation with a broad range of target institutions.


Publisher: Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific

Rights: Creative Commons Attribution.


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