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Catfish Industry Hit by Rising Costs

US - Catfish farmers in Mississippi are growing more and more concerned about the effect rising costs from fuel to feed are having on their businesses.

Rising production costs are forcing some out of business, which is having a knock on effect on employment in the poor areas of the Mississippi delta.

Loss of jobs on catfish farms is reducing opportunities for employment in the region, which in some areas is experiencing double digit unemployment.

"The real problem I see is that after the decline of the catfish industry, these displaced workers, they have no place to go," state Rep. Willie Bailey told Associated Press.

"These are non-transferable skills to other jobs in the Delta."

Catfish feed - a mixture of soybeans, corn and wheat - has risen from $225 to $400 a tonne, and even measures to reduce costs by using corn gluten have not brought the price down enough to stop fish farmers going out of business.

The farmers are also being hit by imports of catfish from Asia.

Last year, USDA figures show that US catfish sales fell by eight per cent to $445 million.

View the AP story by clicking here.