Struan Stevenson, a member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Scotland has publicly criticized imported pangasius from Asia, calling Vietnam’s Mekong River where the fish is raised "filthy" and accusing the country’s pangasius industry of "ruthlessly" exploiting workers.
In a recent address to an aquaculture conference in the European Parliament, Stevenson urged members to persuade European consumers to support the continent’s fish farmers and fishermen and buy local.
The harsh comments followed similar sentiment in the USA. In October, the Catfish Farmers of America (CFA) began airing TV ads urging the Obama administration to implement a measure that would transfer the responsibility of inspecting catfish and pangasius imports from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The tv ads describe the Mekong River as "full of contaminants".
The controversial fish remains popular among seafood lovers around the world. In 2009, pangasius was included on the National Fisheries Institute's "Top Ten" list of the most consumed seafood in America.