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US Catfish Processing Down 12 Percent from Last Year

US - Farm-raised catfish processed during November 2007 totaled 40.3 million pounds round weight, down 12 percentfrom November 2006.

This total is the lowest reported November round weight processed since November 1997 when 40.1 million pounds were processed. The average price paid to producers was 66.6 cents per pound for November 2007, down 1.6 cents from last month and 17.1 cents below a year ago.

Net pounds of processed fish sold during November 2007 totaled 18.9 million pounds, down 3 percent from the comparable month in 2006. The total end of the month inventory increased 8 percent from last month but was down 27 percent from a year ago. Sales of fresh fish, at 6.68 million pounds, were down 1 percent from November 2006 and represented 35 percent of total sales. Frozen fish sales, at 12.2 million pounds, were down 4 percent from a year ago and accounted for the remaining 65 percent of total fish sales. Sales of whole fish represented 18 percent of the total fish sold, fillets accounted for 60 percent, and the remaining 22 percent were mostly steaks, nuggets, and value added products.

The November 2007 average price received by processors for total fresh fish was $2.27 per pound, down 27 cents from last year. Prices for fresh whole fish were $1.56 per pound, down 20 cents from November 2006. Prices for fresh fillets were down 31 cents from a year ago at $2.93 per pound. Total frozen fish averaged $2.28 per pound, down 26 cents from November 2006. Prices for frozen whole dressed fish were down 18 cents at $2.06 and frozen fillets at $2.70 per pound were down 37 cents from a year ago.

Freshwater imports for consumption of Ictalurus spp., Pangasius spp., and other catfish of the order Siluriformes for October 2007 totaled 7.11 million pounds, down 33 percent from the amount imported in October 2006. Imports were from Cambodia, Chile, China, China-Taipei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Ictalurus spp. imports totaled 1.06 million pounds, which were from China and Mexico.

Fresh boneless catfish fillet exports totaled 126 thousand pounds, with 81.3 thousand pounds going to Canada and the rest to the Bahamas and the Netherlands. Exports of frozen, boneless catfish fillets reported for October 2007 totaled 11.8 thousand pounds, which went to Japan and Kuwait.

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