Ninety-four percent of the nation's
catfish is raised in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi on 173,010 acres of
catfish farms. More farm-raised catfish is produced and sold in these states than all
other U.S. aquacultured species combined. In fact, the farm-raised catfish industry has
enjoyed phenomenal growth over the past 27 years, from 5.7 million pounds produced in 1970
to more than 525 million pounds in 1997, nearly a 92-fold increase.
Catfish is actually one of the safest fish to
eat because it is among the freshest freshwater fish available. At 18 months old
(averaging 1 to 1.5 pounds), farm-raised catfish are harvested with seines (large weighted
nets) and loading baskets, then placed in aerated tank trucks for shipment to the
processing plant. The catfish are kept alive up to the minute they are processed. The
entire processing procedure is completed in less than 30 minutes. (Courtesy The Catfish Institute).