Conservation Actions

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

Location Information

The species is known from the Chao Phraya and Mekong basins in Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Geographic Range


Cambodia, China, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Thailand, Viet Nam

Population Information

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.


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.


IUCN Red List Account Link

Please click here to see the species' IUCN Red List Account page.

Photo Credits

Zeb Hogan (category image)