Selective breeding of saline-tolerant striped catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) for sustainable catfish farming in climate vulnerable Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Hai Dao Minh, Yen Duong Thuy, Liem Pham Thanh, Tam Bui Minh, Son Vo Nam, Huong Do Thi Thanh, Hang Bui Thi Bich, Tran Nguyen Thi Ngoc, Hieu Dang Quang, Patrick Kestemont, Phuong Nguyen Thanh, Frédéric Farnir

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Striped catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus), a freshwater species cultured mainly in the Mekong Delta region in Southern Vietnam, is facing a significant challenge due to salinity intrusion as a result of climatic changes. Given these evolving environmental conditions, selecting new strains with a higher salinity tolerance could make production of striped catfish economically feasible in brackish environments. In this study, we carried out a selection program aimed at developing a striped catfish strain able to survive and grow fast in a saline environment. To implement the selection program, we first collected males and females from different provinces in the Mekong delta. We next performed a factorial cross of these breeders to produce half- and full-sib families. When fish reached fry stage (47 dph), we put them in a saline environment (10 ppt) and subsequently kept 50 % of the fastest-growing fish after 143 days post hatching (dph). We repeated this mass selection procedure after 237 dph and 340 dph. We maintained in parallel a randomly selected group in saline conditions and a group of fish reared in freshwater to serve as controls. After crossing the selected individuals, we performed several tests on the next generation of fish to evaluate the effectiveness of selection after one generation in saline conditions. Average direct responses to selection were 18.0 % for growth and 11.4 % for survival rate after one generation of selection. We estimated a moderate realized heritability (0.29) for body weight. The genetic gains obtained in our study for body weight and survival rate after one generation of selection under saline conditions suggest that selection can be effective to improve ability of striped catfish to cope with saline stress. We conclude that our selection program has succeeded in developing a productive strain of striped catfish with better tolerance to salinity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101263
JournalAquaculture Reports
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Climatic change
  • Genetic adaptation
  • Heritability
  • Selection program
  • Striped catfish


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