Preventing the Catfish Blues

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
16 March 2007, at 12:00am

NORTH CAROLINA - The $480 million U.S. Catfish farming industry loses up to 30 percent of its total annual yield worth $135 million to infectious diseases not diagnosed in time to save the fish. Aqualutions, a Wake Forest University spinout, wants to raise $250,000 to help it fix that problem.

Founder and current CEO Sarah Yocum, 23, a former biology and chemistry major at WFU, says the two-year old company has raised about $50,000 through grants and business plan competitions so far. The company plans to apply for at least one large research grant each term.

Catfish, the most farmed fish species in the United States, die in large numbers from a variety of bacterial infections. Farmers try to prevent this, says Yocum, by dumping excessive amounts of antibiotics—$42.5 million worth annually—into the fishponds.

While preventing some fish loss, it also results in bacterial resistance that reduces the effectiveness of later treatments and has also drawn negative attention from consumer advocate groups.

Source: TechJournal South