Ngoc Ha Jade River | The True Panga Promise

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Most asked Q & A about our True Panga

Why is the Fish called ‘Panga’?

The Latin name of the Fish-Family which by nature are the only existing White Catfish in the World and true natives of the Rivers and Streams of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam is Pangasius. The short for this is Panga.

There are several members in this Family, some in the wild, one in the Farm. The wild living Fish are i.e. the giant ‘Pangasius Gigas’ and the ‘Pangasius Bocourti’ the latter also called ‘Basa’ in Vietnamese. The Fish which we at Ngoc Ha Jade River sell to the Markets is the ‘Pangasius hypophthalmus’ in Vietnamese called ‘Tra’ and it lives and grows in our Nature Farms.

What is about the naming ‘Swai’ and ‘River Cobbler’ for this fish?

There are several Market names used for Panga i.e. ‘Swai’ in the USA and in some places ‘River Cobbler’. Both names are not quite accurate but used as market description of this Catfish.

The ‘Swai’ is a far Relative of the Panga from Thailand that looks quite different and River Cobbler sometimes also mistakenly called ‘Basa’ has become fairly common in the UK. The legally and biologically correct naming and declaration is still Pangasius or short – Panga.

How long is the fish in the farm until it is harvested?

Panga has a cycle of 6 Months to grow from a juvenile fish to a market size catch of about 1.3 Kilos of Weight. Our Jade River Farms are natural earthen ponds which have water of the Mekong going through it. But before we use this water directly we securely upgrade it in ponds before we pump it into the growing area ponds.

Our natural Farm system had been awarded by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) with the ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) of best Aquaculture Practice.

Two time is high season for harvesting after the end of the Dry Season in the Mekong Delta (in March) and the Rain Season (in September). But we can harvest our Fish all year round from different Ponds in a sophisticated crop-rotating system.

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What is the fish fed and do you use any chemicals when growing it?

The Fish is fed with our own feed – made to 90% from Vegetarian ingredients mostly GMO free Soybean-Meal. We never use any enhancing chemicals on the Fish. The Feed is totally natural and the growth of the fish depends on good treatment fully chemical free.

We enjoyed a closed Farm-cycle – called integrated Fish-farming system – the Egg Material is coming from our brood stock. The Feed is under our Control, the whole cycle is in our hands. We harvest from our own Nature Farms on the ‘Coconut Island’ Ben Tre in our backyard ourselves and use only our own fish for our True Panga Products.

How is the Fish harvested and reaches the Factory?

As everyone can imagine we take the utmost care when harvesting the fish. A net wall is brought into the pond and slowly dragged to the harvesting station. There the fish is caught out with Hand-Catch-Nets again and put alive into buckets. These Buckets are fast transported onto a well-boat – a ship with a kind of big ‘Aquarium’ in it to keep the fish alive.

This Well-Boat ships the Fish on the River to our Factory that is situated on the banks of this natural Waterway. We take great care that the fish is reaching the factory grounds in best alive and undamaged conditions.

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How is the Panga processed in the Factory?

After reaching the Factory the Fish is killed fast and effectively. Then it is first filleted and washed. After that the skin of the fillets come off and the fish is trimmed by hand to create a completely bone free and nice shaped fillet out of it.

After this the fish is graded after size and color and then it reaches the freezing line. Most Panga Fillets at Ngoc Ha Jade River are so called IQF processed – that’s short for ‘Individual Quick Frozen’.

We put generally some 5% to 10% protective glazing on these fillets – a kind of DeepFrozen-Water-Protection-Coating that the Fillets do not catch freezer-burn.

Then the Fillets are packed after different specifications into Foil bags and mostly supplied to your next door Discounter or Supermarket.

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Why can Panga be so cheap?

There are several reasons for that. Once the fish is available all year round. It grows on home-grown-vegetables and does hardly needs any expensive fish-meal like a farmed Salmon i.e. that needs some 90% of expensive Fishmeal in its diet.

Panga is belonging to the Vietnamese Farm-Culture. It is sold all over the world now in over 130 Counties. And as it is handled well but the labor costs in Vietnam are still very moderate so the handcrafted Panga product can be offered at a good price for everyone to enjoy in the Markets.

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Is there any child labor included in the production of Panga?

It is always the question what one calls ‘child labor’. There are no children allowed in a working position in Vietnam – that means under the age of 16 Years. But it surely can be that in some Panga Farms the whole Family works on the Fish – like in every other Farm around the World and the Children might help the Father and the Mother. But professional Child Work is banned in Vietnam.

Do they use Antibiotics on the Panga?

Not if it can be avoided. It is like with Human Health – when your are healthy you do not need medicine. Just when you are sick.

Also Fish gets sick – but Panga very hardly. It is generally a strong fish. The only time a Panga sometimes can get health problems occurs, when the Water Temperature changes severely between Rain- and Dry-Season and vice versa.

Therefore the Farmers empty the ponds at that time-change completely and restock them. If the fish might get sick before that they are allowed to use medicine in a strictly controlled manner – but this is very costly for them and takes away nearly all of their profit – so most of the time it is better avoided.

If still any Medication had been used and the fish gets ok again it must be starved for some weeks before it can be harvested.

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Why is the Panga often so negative in the News?

The Vietnamese Farmers and Processors are not so used to inform the Media about what they do. They have a lot and enough on their hands with farming and processing over one million Metric Tons per year for the international demand.

The Panga from Vietnam Farms became within a decade a Superstar in the FishCounters more or less overnight.

So there was no real strong Marketing effort taken up to now to inform the public about it – the Vietnamese Farmers and Processors left it to Export-Markets and their Overseas Partners to inform.

But these often wrong informed about the Fish for plain Profit Reasons. Some even called the Panga a ‘Sea-Catch’ to ‘upgrade’ the Image and gain premium prices on a low price fish.

Or certain Non Governmental Agencies make up stories about the critical state of the Environmental Situation of the Mekong and launch it to the uniformed Media to sell their over-expensive Certificates to the Fish-Farmers.

So irritation and lack of truthful information lead to bad headlines.

Opposite to that the Panga is a complete well controlled natural Farm Product with nothing to hide whatsoever. Everyone is happily invited to visit the Mekong Delta and take a look around themselve

True Panga is a True Enjoyment that everyone can afford.

That is here to stay.

No Question about it.

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