Keeping it ‘reel’ as giant catfish season casts of in Thailand

Photo via ไพศาล สุขปุณพันธ์

Local fishermen were keeping it “reel” this week as the annual giant catfish catching season cast off at the Kaeng Krachan Dam in Phetchaburi province in the central part of Thailand.

Giant catfish season in Thailand lasts two months and the nation’s fishermen are allowed to set their reels going from November 20 to January 20. But it isn’t open season. Fishermen have to abide by the rules. Firstly, individual fishermen can only catch 50 giant catfish per year and their equipment, or the net they use must be 50 centimetres or bigger.

Each fisherman must submit an application and pay 100 baht each to take part. Participants must also contribute 1,010 baht to a non-profit organisation in the community to cover the budget for natural resource management in the area.

For every catfish caught, the authorities release 500 baby catfish, called fry, into the dam after the catching season ends.

The Head of the Kaeng Krachan Dam Fisheries Protection Suppression Unit, Akkachai Taechawanto, told media that catfish were first released into the dam in 1985 by the provincial governor. Fishing was then banned until 2003 to allow the giant catfish to grow and flourish before rules and conditions were imposed.

Reports yesterday revealed that 14 giant catfish were caught over the first four days. The heaviest giant catfish caught so far weighed over 170 kilogrammes while the smallest one weighed in at about 50 kilogrammes.

A dead catfish can be sold for 100 baht per kilogramme while a living one will set you back about 300 baht per kilogramme.

The giant catfish at Kaeng Krachan Dam is different from the endangered Mekong giant catfish found in the Mekong River.

The fish in Thailand are farmed.

The fry fishes are mainly released at Bang Lang Dam in Yala province and Kaeng Krachan Dam in Phetchaburi province.

Thailand News

Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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