The catfish are biting. The industry that began in 1959 in Yazoo County has seen its share of peaks and valleys in its economic pond. In its heyday of the 1970s there were more than 100,000 acres of catfish ponds scattered across three states.

But with the high cost of feed and other inputs combined with a low price per pound of catfish, many farmers plowed under their fish dreams and rowed up profits in grain crops. The 1990s saw a rise in the fish industry, but that resurgence was met with an overabundance of fish in the US and the invasion of Asian fish famers into the U.S. markets that once again plummeted the price farmers were getting.

The land that once touted its pond acreage now only has 1/3 of that 100,000 acres. Mississippi State extension aquaculture professor, Dr. Jimmy Avery noted that there are now “34,700 acres and the industry is faring well with low feed prices and good fish prices.”

U.S. Catfish Institute vice president, Jeremy Robbins is happy to see the resurgence of catfish but understands there is a long road ahead.

“When you look in seafood cases in the grocery store, about 95 percent of the catfish is imported,” Robbins said. “A big goal of our is to educate consumers. You have to ask and look for the label that shows where the product is coming from.”

Read the full report on Delta Business Journal: http://deltabusinessjournal.com/catfish-industry-rise-delta-aquaculture/