Farm-Raised Catfish

Farm-Raised Catfish

Catfish are easy to farm in warm climates, leading to inexpensive and safe food at local grocers. Catfish raised in inland tanks or channels are considered safe for the environment, since their waste and disease should be contained and not spread to the wild. [cite website | first = Paul | last = Rogers | title = Economy of Scales | work = Stanford Magazine | publisher = Stanford Alumni Association | issue = March / April 2006 | url = | accessdate = 2008-02-14]


In Asia, many catfish species are important as food. Several walking catfish (Clariidae) and shark catfish (Pangasiidae) species are heavily cultured in Africa and Asia. Exports of one particular shark catfish species from Vietnam, "Pangasius bocourti", has met with pressures from the U.S. catfish industry. In 2003, The United States Congress passed a law preventing the imported fish from being labeled as catfish. [,0,6595048.story?coll=la-home-business L.A. Times, "'Catfish' bred in Asia move up on U.S. food chain", 28 November 2006] As a result, the Vietnamese exporters of this fish now label their products sold in the U.S. as "basa fish." [ [ US Catfish imports not slowing] ]

United States

Ictalurids are cultivated in North America (especially in the Deep South, with Mississippi being the largest domestic catfish producer). [Cite paper | author= J.E. Morris| title= Pond Culture of Channel Catfish in the North Central Region | publisher= North Central Regional Aquaculture Center| date= October 1993| url=| accessdate= 2006-06-28] Channel catfish ("Ictalurus punctatus") supports a $450 million/yr aquaculture industry.cite web|url=|title=Siluriformes|last=Lundberg|first=John G.|coauthors=Friel, John P.|publisher=Tree of Life Web Project|date=2003-01-20|accessdate=2007-04-18] The US farm-raised catfish industry began in the early 1960s in Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Channel Catfish ("Ictalurus punctatus") quickly became the major catfish grown as it was hardy and easily spawned in earthen ponds. By the late 60s the industry moved into the Mississippi Delta as farmers struggled with sagging profits in cotton, rice and soybeans especially on those farm areas where soils had a very high in clay content.

The Mississippi Delta is not a true river delta but rather an alluvial floodplain. The Delta became the industry home for the catfish industry as it had the soils, climate and shallow aquifer to provide water for the earthen ponds that grow 360-380 million pounds (160,000 to 170,000 tons) of catfish annually. Catfish are fed a grain based diet that is largely soybean meal. Fish are fed daily through the summer at rates of 1-6% of body weight with the pelleted floating feed. Catfish need approximately double their weight in feed. Mississippi is home to convert|100000|acre|km2|-1|lk=on of catfish ponds, the largest of any state. Other states important in growing catfish include Alabama and Louisiana.


There is a large and growing ornamental fish trade, with hundreds of species of catfish, such as "Corydoras" and armored suckermouth catfish (often called plecos), being a popular component of many aquaria. Other catfish commonly found in the aquarium trade are banjo catfish, talking catfish, and long-whiskered catfish.

ee also

*Channel Catfish


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