Giant barb belongs to carp family, coming from fresh water with scientific name Catlocarpis Siamensis. Giant barb was once called the king of freshwater fishes with one possibly weighing up 300kg. Sometimes, fishermen catch giant barbs over 100kg from the upstream of Tiền and Hậu rivers.
Giant barbs were often found pretty much in Cửu Long river but the number has dropped to extinction, making the species be listed in Vietnam’s endangered species. National Breeding Center for Southern Freshwater Aquaculture has succeeded inconducting artificial propagation on giant barbs whose baby fish were then reared on trials by farmers in An Giang, KiênGiang, and Vĩnh Long.
One of successful farmers of commercial giant barbs, Ngô Hữu Phước, 63, in Đông Hậu hamlet, Ngãi Tứ commune, Tam Bình districts, Vĩnh Long province saysthe fish are easy to be reared, weigh up quickly, catch fewer diseases, and have high survival rate. Giant barbs can weigh up to 2-2.5 kg each after eighteen months. There heavier they are, the higher their economic value will be. Thus, some farmers wait till the third year of their grow-out cycle to harvest when the fish reach 5-10 kg each.
Phước had four giant barbs on trials in 2013 and they reached 5kg each unexpectedly. Then he continued with 200 fish fries.Positive results led him do further 650 fries from An Giang in 2017. He learnt experiences from books, articles, and other farming provinces and had full support from experts.
In his experiences, fish fries must be healthy enough and stocked at 1m2/pc so that they can grow quickly and homogeneously. Since they are grown up, water surface area must be doubled because giant barbs like wriggling. Besides, he uses mesh to separate them in sizes to prevent them from fighting for feed.
Be aware of keeping waterclean and nutritious and provide the fish enough oxygen, he put an oxygen system at the bottom of the ponds. He used industrial feed (in pellet form), water morning glory, and crushed cabbages. They are always impatient to eat but so timid that they stay at the depth while it is sunshine and just creep up on the surface in the afternoon.
He started harvesting in 2018 but only agreed to sell at 300,000 dong/kg (1,5-3 million dong/pc). Thus, he has earned over 300 million dong from giant barbs.
He says that giant barbs are in high demandas they are one of special dishes. Moreover, some people believe that eating giant barbs brings good luck as they are king fish and nutritious, so they are ready to pay higher price for the fish. “I have spent many years rearing pangasius, carps, catfish, zigzag eel and marble goby but none is as good as giant barbs. Especially, the longer they are reared, the more profit you will get”, says Phước.