Impact of recent salinity increase on catfish aquaculture in the Mekong Delta
  • Name of project:Impact of recent salinity increase on catfish aquaculture in the Mekong Delta
  • Project code:SED007
  • Place :Lower Mekong Delta
Project Description

The Mekong Delta, which plays a crucial role in Vietnam on ecological and socio-economic services, is now facing different pressures on its environment, ecology and landscape.


In 2016, the salinity in the Mekong increased at a higher level than the previous years, threatening rice crops and aquaculture farming. The catfishes’ aquaculture is one of the most important in the Mekong area but is now impacted by global changes.

Map of the different aquaculture farms of Pangas along the Mekong and in green the study area.


The project proposes (i) to describe how aquaculture farmers are able to face and respond to the salinity increase in the lower Mekong, and (ii) to evaluate if catfish species living in brackish waters are able to undertake movements between different salinity waters, and then could sustain new aquaculture design. Field surveys are done in the brackish areas of two arms of the Mekong Delta. By using inquiries of aquaculture farmers with a political ecology approach, their local knowledge and strategies to respond to the salinity increase will be better understood. Environmental DNA and otolith strontium isotopes of two catfish species living in brackish waters will be used to estimate their presence along the lower delta, their movements, and particularly their ability to cross habitats with different salinity levels. Links between aquaculture farmers, their environment and their responses to global changes will be particularly highlighted. As output, the project must also map the potential habitats of salinity tolerant catfish and their potential use for aquaculture.

Main investigator:

Tran Trong Ngan (PhD student, DEEB; University of Science, VNUHCM, Ho Chi Minh City)



Jacques Panfili (IRD, UMR MARBEC, Ho Chi Minh City)

Hoang Duc Huy (University of Science, VNUHCM, Ho Chi Minh City)


Associated supervisors:

Marie-Christine Cormier-Salem (UMR PALOC, Paris)

Jean-Dominique Durand (IRD, UMR MARBEC, Ho Chi Minh City)


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