Aquaculture for all

Fishing For Survival

Economics +1 more

US - Catfish farmers and fishermen across Louisiana are draining their ponds and hanging up their hoop nets as low fish prices and high input costs make it tough to keep afloat in the struggling industry.

Competition from overseas has held fish prices in check during the last decade, while production costs have increased steadily with inflation and rising costs of feed, says

As a result, catfish pond acreage in the US has declined by more than a third in the last decade. hose that remain are fighting back against imports by waging a campaign to establish US catfish as a superior product.

Farmers have backed federal and state labelling laws requiring restaurants and grocery stores to label their catfish by country of origin, a move they hope will help jumpstart domestic production.

"We're like a frog in the bottom of a barrel right now," said Steve Stephens, president of the Louisiana Catfish Farmers Association. "We're looking for anything right now that can help us."

Catfish is the leading aquaculture industry in the United States, with about 500 million pounds processed domestically in 2008. About 95 per cent of the nation's catfish comes from Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana.

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