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Fuel Price Rises Hit Catfish Growers

US - A rise in the cost of fuel in the US by 120 per cent over the last five years is having a severe effect on fish farming profits.

The price hike coupled with rising feed costs are cutting into fish farmers' profits.

According to Alabama's Demopolis Times, high prices of gasoline are affecting business on catfish farms.

Townsend Kyser, a second-generation catfish farmer from Greensboro, has about 60 ponds in Hale County and this month marks the beginning of the feeding season, which will run until October. Kyser and his crew will run all hour shifts to keep the water levels optimal and the fish fed properly.

The Demopolis Times says although this routine is one he has done many times before, high gasoline prices have already trickled down into the way business is done.

Mr Kyser told the newspaper the direct way high fuel costs affect his business relate to the equipment they use to keep up the ponds and also the cost of feed. Between the portable aerators and the tractors that move them from one pond to another and the other vehicles they use to collect and transport their harvest, diesel usage remains high.

"When input costs are high you just have to watch things more closely," Mr Kyser said.

"You also just cut have to down on driving as much as you can."

Another factor to contend with is the drought of the last two years. Kyser said last year they had to move at least two ponds of fish because water levels were too low. This year, however, water levels are returning back to normal, a plus for their aquaculture-based business.

"Everything is looking better than last year," Kyser said.

View the Demopolis Times story by clicking here.