- 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 = http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2006/marapr/features/fishfarming.html | 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 Africaand 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 Congresspassed a law preventing the imported fish from being labeled as catfish. [http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-catfish28nov28,0,6595048.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." [ [http://www.growfish.com.au/content.asp?contentid=5816 US Catfish imports not slowing] ]
Ictalurids are cultivated in
North America(especially in the Deep South, with Mississippibeing 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= http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/NCR444.pdf| accessdate= 2006-06-28] Channel catfish("Ictalurus punctatus") supports a $450 million/yr aquaculture industry.cite web|url=http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Siluriformes&contgroup=Ostariophysi|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, Oklahomaand Arkansas. Channel Catfish("Ictalurus punctatus") quickly became the major catfishgrown as it was hardy and easily spawned in earthen ponds. By the late 60s the industry moved into the Mississippi Deltaas 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 deltabut rather an alluvial floodplain. The Delta became the industry home for the catfish industry as it had the soils, climate and shallow aquiferto 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 soybeanmeal. 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 Alabamaand 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.
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