Mekong Delta enters into bong lau fish season

VietNamNet Bridge – Year in, year out, throngs of fishermen head for the lower reaches of Tien and Hau rivers in the Mekong Delta around the beginning of year for the harvest season of bong lau (Pangasius krempfi) fish because this freshwater catfish only appear in large volume in the delta for around three months.

Mekong Delta, local fishermen, harvest season

A group of fishermen in the Mekong Delta wait to catch bong lau fish at night 

On a spring afternoon, fisherman Nam Sach at Tra On ferry terminal on the north bank of the Hau River is seen preparing his boat and net to catch bong lau fish when night falls.

Nam Sach says most of bong lau fish are born in the upper reaches of the Mekong River in Cambodia in August and September, and then they migrate down the river to Vietnam. When reaching Tien and Hau rivers, they grow mature and mostly weigh four to five kilograms each, or even eight to nine kilograms.

These bong lau fish are a source of revenue for local fishermen as at this time the southern part of Vietnam begins entering the dry season and lacks natural aquatic products. “The fish is a gift that nature gives fishermen in the downstream,” he said.

With many years’ experience in fishing, Nam Sach said fishermen can only catch bong lau fish at night as they often hide deep in the water in the daytime.

In the past, thanks to the great volume of bong lau fish, one fisherman can catch dozens of fish per night but now, they can only go home with three to four fish at most. However, as bong lau is expensive, a group of fishermen can earn several million dong a night.

According to local fishermen, bong lau fish normally gather around dunes and islets from Can Tho City to Soc Trang Province.

Bien, a fish dealer in Can Tho City, said the price of wild bong lau fish is two times higher than that of the farmed type as they are more delicious. Normally, he buys 120-150 fish a day and distributes most of them in HCMC where the fish is a specialty.


Mekong Delta, local fishermen, harvest season