It’s commonly imported from Vietnam and also has become much more widely accessible and popular in the united state over the past couple of decades.

You are watching: Does swai fish have scales

However, many people who eat swai might not be conscious of involves surrounding its production on overfilled fish farms.

This post gives friend the facts about swai fish, help you decide if you have to eat or prevent it.

Share on Pinterest
Swai is a white-fleshed, moist fish that has a for sure texture and also neutral flavor. Therefore, it conveniently takes ~ above the flavor of various other ingredients (1).

According to the US national Oceanic and Atmospheric management (NOAA), swai ranks together the sixth most renowned fish in the country (2).

It’s indigenous to Asia’s Mekong River. However, swai obtainable to consumer is most commonly produced top top fish farms in Vietnam (1).

In fact, swai manufacturing in the Mekong Delta that Vietnam is one of the biggest freshwater fish farming industries worldwide (3).

Previously, swai imported into the us was called oriental catfish. In 2003, the us Food and also Drug administration (FDA) happen a law that only fish in the Ictaluridae family, which has American catfish but not swai, can be labeling or advertised together catfish (4).

Swai is native a separate yet related family referred to as Pangasiidae, and the scientific name because that it is Pangasius hypophthalmus.

Other names for swai and comparable species space panga, pangasius, sutchi, cream dory, strip catfish, Vietnamese catfish, tra, basa and — though it’s not a shark — iridescent shark and Siamese shark.


Swai is a white-fleshed, neutral-flavored fish generally imported from Vietnamese fish farms. As soon as called oriental catfish, US laws no much longer permit this name to it is in used. American catfish is indigenous a various family 보다 swai, but they room related.

Nutritional Value

Eating fish is generally urged as it gives lean protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fat.

The protein content of swai is average compared to other common fish, but it offers very small omega-3 fat (1, 5).

A 4-ounce (113-gram) serving of uncooked swai includes (5, 6, 7, 8):

Calories: 70Protein: 15 gramsFat: 1.5 gramsOmega-3 fat: 11 mgCholesterol: 45 gramsCarbs: 0 gramsSodium: 350 mgNiacin: 14% the the Reference everyday Intake (RDI)Vitamin B12: 19% that the RDISelenium: 26% that the RDI

For comparison, the same serving the salmon package 24 grams of protein and 1,200–2,400 mg the omega-3 fat, when American catfish has 15 grams that protein and 100–250 mg of omega-3 fat in 4 ounces (113 grams) (9, 10, 11).

The salt in swai may be higher or lower than shown over based on just how much salt tripolyphosphate, one additive to maintain moisture, is used during processing (1).

Swai is fantastic source the selenium and a great source of niacin and vitamin B12. However, quantities can vary based on what the fish is fed (5, 8).

Swai nothing have particularly healthy diets. They’re commonly fed rice bran, soy, canola and fish by-products. The soy and also canola products are typically genetically modified, i beg your pardon is a controversial practice (1, 3, 12).


Swai is moderate in nutritional value, providing a kind amount the protein yet very little omega-3 fat. Its main vitamin and mineral contributions room selenium, niacin and vitamin B12. Use of an additive to store swai moist boosts its sodium content.

The impact of swai fish farms on the ecosystem is a major concern (13).

The Monterey just Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program lists swai together a fish that should be avoided, as part swai fish farms generate waste products that are illegally dumped right into rivers (3).

The improper handle of wastewater is specifically concerning due to the fact that swai fish ranches use a most chemical agents, including disinfectants, anti-parasitic drugs and antibiotics.

Mercury contamination is one more consideration. Some research studies have found acceptable level of mercury in swai native Vietnam and also other southeastern and also southern areas of Asia (14, 15, 16).

However, other research has displayed mercury levels in swai that are over the civilization Health organization recommended limit in 50% of the samples experiment (17).

These obstacles suggest the require for far better water quality on swai fish farms and much better quality manage checks the the fish during the income process.


The Monterey only Aquarium’s Seafood Watch routine advises avoiding swai due to the fact that many chemistry agents are used on the fish farms and can pollute surrounding water. Some, however not all, analyses imply swai may have actually high mercury levels together well.

When swai and also other fish space grown on overfilled fish farms, the threat of infectious diseases in the fish increases.

In one study, 70–80% that swai samples exported to Poland, Germany and also Ukraine were contaminated v Vibrio bacteria, a microbe commonly associated in shellfish food poisoning in world (15).

To combat bacterial infections, swai are frequently regularly offered antibiotics and also other drugs. However, there are drawbacks. Residual water of antibiotics may remain in the fish, and also the drugs can gain into adjacent waterways (18).

In a research of imported seafood, swai and also other oriental seafood most generally exceeded medicine residue limits. Vietnam had the greatest variety of drug residue violations amongst countries that export fish (19).

In fact, 84,000 pounds of frozen swai fish fillets imported native Vietnam and also distributed in the us were recalled as result of failure to satisfy US needs to test the fish for medicine residues and other contaminants (20).

Additionally, even if fish is appropriately inspected and also antibiotic and also other medicine residues are below legal limits, their regular use can promote resistance that bacteria to the drugs (18).

Some the the very same antibiotics are offered to treat human being infections. If they’re overused and the bacteria end up being resistant to them, it might leave world without efficient treatments for particular diseases (18, 21).


Antibiotics are generally used come combat infections on overfilled swai fish farms. Overuse of antibiotics increases the danger of bacter resistance to them, which could, in turn, alleviate the effectiveness of medicine in people.

You can be ordering swai at restaurants without also knowing.

In a research by Oceana, an global ocean conservation and advocacy organization, swai was one of the three types of fish most typically substituted for more expensive fish.

In fact, swai was marketed as 18 different species of fish — most typically mislabeled as perch, grouper or single (22).

Such mislabeling may occur at restaurants, supermarkets and seafood processing plants. Occasionally this mislabeling is deliberate fraud due to the fact that swai is inexpensive. Other times it’s unintentional.

Seafood frequently travels a long way from the point it’s captured to whereby you to buy it, making the more an overwhelming to map its origin.

For example, yes sir no easy method for restaurant owner to inspect that a box of fish castle purchased is what it states it is.

Moreover, if a form of fish isn’t identified, such together if you’re ordering a fish sandwich at a restaurant the doesn’t clues the type of fish, it could be swai.

In a research of fish commodities served at 37 restaurants in a southeastern united state city, around 67% of key simply provided as “fish” top top the food selection were swai (23).


Swai is periodically intentionally or accidentally mislabeled as another type of fish, such as perch, grouper or sole. Additionally, restaurants may not identify the form of fish in some dishes, so there’s a an excellent chance you’ve consumed swai, also if friend didn’t understand it.

If you choose swai, buy brands that have eco-certification native an independent group, such as the Aquaculture Stewardship Council. Together brands frequently include the certifying agency’s logo design on the package.

Certification indicates initiatives to minimize pollutants that can contribute to climate readjust and harm water top quality (24).

Additionally, don’t eat life or undercooked swai. Cook fish come an interior temperature the 145℉ (62.8℃) to destroy potentially harmful bacteria, such as Vibrio.

If you choose to happen on swai, there space plenty of great alternatives. For white-fleshed fish, consider wild-caught united state catfish, Pacific cod (from the US and Canada), haddock, single or flounder, amongst others (25).

For fish packed through omega-3s, several of your best alternatives that nothing contain overfill mercury are wild-caught salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, Pacific oysters and freshwater trout (11).

Lastly, eat a variety of different kinds the fish quite than the same kind all the time. This helps mitigate the risks that might come from over-exposure to potentially harmful contaminants in one type of fish.

See more: Si Vemos Basura En Las Calles, La Debemos ., Si Vemos Basura En Las Calles, La Debemos


If you eat swai, choose a brand bearing an eco-certification seal, such together from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, and cook it fine to death Vibrio and also other harmful bacteria. Healthy options to swai incorporate haddock, sole, salmon and also many others.