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Pangasius sanitwongsei

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII SILURIFORMES PANGASIIDAE

Scientific Name: Pangasius sanitwongsei
Species Authority: Smith, 1931
Common Name(s):
English Giant Pangasius, Paroon Shark, Pangasid-catfish, Pla Thepa
Synonym(s):
Pangasius beani Smith, 1931
Pangasius sanitwangsei Smith, 1931

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2acd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2007-03-01
Assessor(s): Jenkins, A., Kullander, F.F. & Tan, H.H.
Reviewer(s): Collen, B., Darwall, W., Ram, M. & Smith, K. (SRLI Freshwater Fish Evaluation Workshop)
Justification:
There are ongoing threats to P. sanitwongsei, including harvesting, and alteration of the river for dams and increased shipping.

Assessed as Critically Endangered due to an estimated population decline of more than 99% over three generations, even using the most optimistic values for generation time and population size (assuming a constant exponential rate). This rate has been inferred for the whole population given that the same threats exist throughout the range of P. sanitwongsei.
History:
1996 Data Deficient
1994 Rare (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Rare (IUCN 1990)
1988 Rare (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Rare (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The species is known from the Chao Phraya and Mekong basins in Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam.
Countries:
Native:
Cambodia; China (Yunnan); Lao People's Democratic Republic; Thailand; Viet Nam
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Two sub-populations may be separated by the Khone Falls, over which P. sanitwongsei does not appear to migrate (Poulsen 2001).

Local fishermen report declines in sightings/catch of P. sanitwongsei; one interviewee said that P. sanitwongsei had disappeared from his catch, while another (ex-chair of the Giant Catfish Fishermens Club) said that 'fifteen years ago 100 P. sanitwongsei were caught per year…five years ago about 5-20 fish were caught per year…recently the catch has declined further and the fish has disappeared' (Meynell 2003).

Generation time is not known, but that of the closely related Pangasianodon gigas is estimated at 10-15 years.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: P. sanitwongsei is a benthopelagic, potamodromous species which inhabits large rivers surrounded by rainforest. P. sanitwongsei uses deep pools as refuges in the dry season.
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: No captive breeding known, therefore 100% wild harvest assumed.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Overfishing for food and to a lesser extent the aquarium trade, has depleted the natural population of P. sanitwongsei (Wang 1998).

This species is likely to have been affected by the destruction of rapids and reefs as part of the Upper Mekong Navigation Improvement Project, and by the construction of dams. Projects such as these affect the natural flood/drought cycles throughout the river, and therefore the migratory behaviour of fish such as P. sanitwongsei.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In 1989 P. sanitwongsei was listed as a Class II protected species by the provincial government of Yunnan, China.

Citation: Jenkins, A., Kullander, F.F. & Tan, H.H. 2009. Pangasius sanitwongsei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 29 August 2014.
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