Pangasius Bocourti – commonly known as Basa – has lean and bright white flesh and offers a delicate texture and mild flavour. Basa flesh is considered superior in quality to its close cousin – Pangasius Hypophthalmus.
Basa is a river Catfish and one of 28 species in the Pangasiidae family. In comparison to its cousin – Pangasius Hypophthalmus - Basa are more difficult to farm, more costly to raise and slower to grow. Consequently - Basa commands a higher price. Both Basa and Swai are scale-less fish and have stout and heavy bodies. They have round, broad heads with blunt snouts that have a white band on the muzzle. Both species are usually harvested when they are about 2 to 3 pounds.
Pangasius are native to the tropical waters of the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam and the Chao Phraya River basin in Thailand. Both Pangasius Bocourti (Basa) and Pangasius Hypophthalmus (Swai) are thriving in the aquaculture industry in Asia.
Commercial farming of river Pangasius in Southeast Asia has a strong potential to be sustainable - however, current use of open cage aquaculture systems along with little or no management creates conservation concerns. Catfish farmed in the US are considered more environmentally responsible.