Development of Bighead Catfish Culture for Sustainable Aquaculture in Cambodia

Catching walking catfish fingerlings for counting and weighing
Submitted by Sina Nov/CE SAIN Cambodia

The goal of this project is to develop and apply new applied aquaculture research technologies in order to support bighead catfish (BC) culture in Cambodia. The project is articulated around two main investigations

  1. Development and scaling of cost-effective feeds for sustainable culture of BC in Cambodia, which will lead to the determination of the optimal protein and lipid requirements in grow-out stage, the formulation of soybean-meal-based commercial feeds for BC, and the development of feeding protocols for BC
  2. Building of the infrastructural and human aquaculture research capacities of local institutions that will ultimately lead to the establishment of new research facilities, renovating of the existing facilities, training of local scientists and technicians on basic and applied aquaculture research approaches, running an aquaculture research station, and formulating and manufacturing aquafeeds

The research team considers that it is not sustainable to rely on wild catches ("under rated" or "trash" fish) to produce BC in Cambodia. It is therefore anticipated that the use of soybean meal as the main protein source in BC diets will reduce the use of "under rated" fish in BC feed and decrease the pressure on wild fish catches in the Lower Mekong River Basin. It is also anticipated that the promotion of the soybean-meal-based formulated feed for BC that will be developed through this project (instead of a "fish-based" protein source) will have positive implications for U.S. agriculture, as it will generate high demand for U.S. soybeans.