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Mekong Giant Catfish Working Group

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

Photo : MRC Fisheries Programme

Conservation strategy process

The Mekong giant catfish Pangasianodon gigas is one of the world’s largest freshwater fish and a charismatic animal revered throughout the lower Mekong. Its capture in fisheries is very rare, and invariably attracts great attention in the local and regional media. For this reason and the fact that its life history (long-lived, late-maturing and long-distance migrant) makes the species vulnerable to human disturbances from fishing to dam building, it is widely seen as a ‘flagship species‘ for conservation of the lower Mekong ecosystem its fisheries.

Mekong Giant Catfish Working Group (MGCWG) was set up in 2005 to coordinate and evaluate conservation initiatives and develop an overarching conservation strategy. The MGCWG brings together the major relevant organisations including the MRC Fisheries Programme, Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Programme, Cambodian Fisheries Administration, Lao Department of Livestock and Fisheries, Thai Department of Fisheries, Network of Aquaculture Centers in Asia-Pacific, Kasetsart University, WWF, IUCN, and Imperial College London. The conservation strategy is being developed through a series of workshops, combined with focused research to assess the status of the wild and captive populations and the likely effectiveness of management options.


MGCWG Reports

Inception & planning meeting (Bangkok 2005) PDF

Species Conservation Action Plan meeting (Phnom Penh 2005) PDF

Quantitative assessment report and workshop (Vientiane 2006) PDF

Report on the conservation of genetic resources in the captive stock PDF

Conservation strategy (DRAFT) PDF

Related material

Project brief PDF

NACA press release PDF

Mekong Fisheries Catch & Culture article (2007) PDF

Some Mekong giant catfish links

IUCN Red List entry

MRC Technical Report on Mekong giant fish

National Geographic News Article

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